Parenting with Theraplay® Understanding Attachment and How to Nurture a Closer Relationship with Your Child

How much do I want to read more? 7/10

Interesting parenting book. To establish closeness. Explain the different stages by which the child has to develop.
It certainly is a must read in the parenting books. Lots to learn from here.

Foreword (Phyllis Booth)

Ann Jernberg, creator of Theraplay, was given the job of finding a way to help these unsettled and needy children who were often upset and angry, or shut down and sad. She turned to the model of what parents naturally do with their babies and young children: play with them, take care of them, connect with them.

Sad, shut down children became more outgoing and lively.
The essential healing power of the Theraplay approach is in the positive relationship that is created between the children and the adults who care for them.

Foreword (Dafna Lender)

what about the parents and children who don’t need a visit to a therapist, but where joy and connection between them seemed to be overshadowed by the obligations and stresses of everyday life?

how to feel more connected with your child so that you can have a cooperative and joyful family life.


for helping children and their families, which is active and playful and promotes closeness.

Part 1 - What Is Theraplay?

1- What Is Theraplay and How Does It Work?

a way for adults and children to be together which deepens the relationship between them.
a wide range of very simple activities that create ‘in the moment’ connection between two people and develop closeness.
The activities themselves are just a vehicle to help with this connection.

The Theraplay approach developed out of a project in the 1960s in Chicago called the Head Start programme, which was designed to support children and families living in at-risk or deprived circumstances. The developers of Theraplay spent considerable time observing how typical parents and children interacted and came up with a range of playful activities.

Aggressive children became calmer, withdrawn children came out of their shell. Parents felt more confident and closer to their children.
it was having a profound effect on all areas of family life.

delight, nurture and care and they encourage their child to explore the world and develop. Most importantly parents do all of these things with their child; they are together, connected and alongside each other.

Structure, Engagement, Nurture, Challenge

Brain development and Theraplay

Your brain develops through your experiences, and especially through your important relationships.
brain and need lots of different experiences in order to grow and develop.

1.Development happens in stages.
2.Parents are vital in helping their child develop.
3.The brain always checks for safety first.

Development happens in stages

layers of learning, so that new learning builds on what has happened before.
Just as a baby learns to roll, then sit, then crawl before walking.

You have to start at the point where he is and move forward from there, to build on what has gone before.

As your child matures the higher levels of brain functioning develop, which helps him to control more basic impulses.
Theraplay starts at the bottom and works up.

Parents are vital

It is as if you ‘lend your brain’ to your child. Your baby is full of impulses and reactions, and you (as the more mature person who can appreciate what he might need) use the thinking and emotional part of your brain to help work out how to help him.
As you provide sensitive care, the calmness and organisation of your response helps calm his more immature brain, so he settles.

This process, where you interpret what your child’s needs are and then go on to provide them, happens all the time and in turn helps his brain to develop.

Safety comes first

We scan our environment for signs of danger at all times without realising it.
we will not feel relaxed or in the mood to play, explore or have fun because we have to make sure we’re safe first.

Main ideas that support Theraplay