Why not play the ‘Chuckle Brothers Brain Game’?
You know who the Chuckle Brothers are; the mature, moustachioed siblings who were a mainstay of children’s TV in the 80s and 90s. If you’re anything like me, you can’t move a piece of furniture across the room without quoting their catch phrase…
Now think about the last conversation you had. Was it with your barber, your other half, your kids? How did it go? The last one I had was with a work colleague, talking about the benefits of Facebook. I would give a reason I find it useful, and she would come back at me with a reason she did or didn’t. Sometimes we might be inspired by the other person’s statements to change our opinion, or to adapt what we think, sparking new ideas and tangents within the course of the conversation. Was your last conversation structured in a similar way to this?
When I talk to my children, who are 17 and 10, occasionally I find myself cutting short this “to me… to you…” conversation, giving them an ultimatum about tidying their room, washing up or getting ready, but usually our conversations are like a Chuckle Brother’s removal job.
In this example “to me… to you…” signifies the way the conversation and interaction bounces from one of us to the other and back again. And it doesn’t need to be words or sentences, it can be a nod, a cuddle, a funny face; in fact any number of interactions.
This is the same for our interactions with babies. The child might look or point at something, make a sound or create a facial expression. He might move one or more of his limbs. That’s the start of the Chuckle Brother’s Brain Game. The aim of the game is to aid brain development. When you pay attention to your baby you will see the things they are focussed on and notice these cues and you can respond. Obviously you can’t spend all your time trying to spot your child’s “to me… to you…” cues, you have other important adult stuff to do, like eating, sleeping, cleaning and catching Pokémon, but looking for small opportunities when you are already spending time with your child will provide lots of opportunities for a game. It can be while you are feeding, changing, getting him dressed or even while out and about waiting around in queues or looking for the evasive Pikachu. Here’s how:
While playing the Chuckle Brother’s Brain Game, there are an endless number of permitted moves. These range from simple eyebrow raises to more complicated model and mirror techniques. A simple hug, sticking out your tongue and singing are also highly successful game plays. All moves and techniques are equally legitimate, all leading to game progression and levelling up.
The Chuckle Brothers Brain Game has no end, and no clear winner, but it’s still worth playing, as they say, because it is most definitely the taking part that counts.
By noticing these cues to the game, you’ll inevitably learn a lot about a child’s abilities, interests and needs. You will find out what makes your child tick, and develop a real sense of your impact on your child’s life, personality and development. And without even noticing, you will be strengthening the bond between you and your child.
Your child’s prize:
Your child will know they are understood, and that their feelings are valued. Even as a baby they will feel that they are listened to and valued. You will be helping them to understand the world around them exploring safely and secure in the knowledge that you are a safe base camp to retreat back to when it all gets a bit much. Speech and naming the actions and objects that your child is focussed on will give him a bank of words to use and a baseline of language to call on when needed. Taking turns helps your child to understand the way interactions work, acknowledge their value within the relationships they have builds their confidence, independence and resilience. Waiting for a “to you…” response helps your child to develop and build his ideas, enhancing his imagination and understanding. When you can encourage your child to take the lead you are supporting them to explore the world and in turn create more opportunities to play the Chuckle Brother’s Brain Game.
Every positive interaction you have with your child literally develops their brain!