Help me start Watch Wait Wonder at home
November 23, 2021 3:01 AM   Subscribe

I just started play therapy with my child. The therapists recommends Watch Wait Wonder therapy and I'm on board but she doesn't have availability to start right away. I would like to do some of this at home before we start with the therapist. Please advise.

My understanding is that the meat of this is sit on the floor and watch the child play, paying complete attention to the play and intervening only if asked and letting the child take the lead in the play and observing the child as closely as possible. I know that the second half involves talking to the therapist about what I observe and I can't do that alone, but I feel like I can still get some insight and this level of attention can still benefit our relationship. If I can, logistically, I might try to journal what I observe as a sort of substitute for talking to the therapist at the end.

I'm looking for a clear description of how to do this. For example, I assume I should not just do this at home with all of their toys available but rather make a particular set of toys available? Are there any guidelines for choosing what the toys? Should they be toys she's never seen before or doesn't otherwise play with or does it not matter? Do they have to be toys they can easily play with on their own? I have access to a room we don't normally play in and that would not have other toys. Should I go there?

If you've done this from a parent perspective, I'm interested in hearing how it worked when you did it. Also obviously interested in advice from anyone who has done this from a therapist perspective. I think that when people do this with a therapist they're also advised to do it in between appointments at home. Surely there's a hand-out given to parents in that case, can you find me one?

My child will be 5 in February, so we're at the upper age end of when this is intended for.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not familiar with Watch, Wait and Wonder, but the bottom of this page has an email address you can contact for a workshop manual, which is described as "an indispensable tool as [you] begin to practice WWW."

This page has a downloadable 5 page pdf on the topic - it's not hugely detailed but has some details of types of toys and how they should be laid out.
posted by penguin pie at 3:27 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


I haven't ever done this type of psychotherapy and I'm not trained in it either. But right now, setting aside 30 minutes in which you are simply attentive to your kid and letting them lead in play is absolutely good enough. At 5 there will be much more pretend and chatting compared to the link above, and that's fine! Just let it be led by her. Don't worry about doing it right, this is just time for you all to spend together. If you learn something from it without the formal set up from this particular therapist, great! If you don't spending time with your kid having fun is also a perfectly normal and healthy thing to do. You will also be able to reflect on what this type of play felt like to you. Journal if you want too. But there isn't a wrong way to play with your kid, too many toys or too little, or the space that you have to do this right now. It's fine for your home to just be your home. Don't formalize it too much without the therapist, after all, to your kid you are spending time together doing what she wants. And even if a WWW therapist here to answer this question, they may do things differently from your child's therapist anyway.

Some people do need assistance on what child led play actually looks like, which is one of the reasons the therapist watches. Many parents naturally want to redirect or add something new to repetitive play, or may get uncomfortable if an odd or very serious subject is brought up. Some parents won't even notice that they are doing it. This is normal!

Doing this won't do something that will cause problems for therapy. Even if the therapist uses specific toys or targets in interventions in specific ways that you aren't doing right now, it will be fine. Therapists are used to parents doing a wide variety of actions with kids that aren't a part of their specific recommendations.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:40 AM on November 23 [5 favorites]


I would choose a room that is safe and free of things that your child can get into in a way that would be unsafe or make an annoying mess. That way you won’t have to intervene and say no all the time. Janet Lansbury calls this a “yes space.” Podcast link with transcript.
posted by mai at 8:44 AM on November 23


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