What Does Serve & Return Look Like in Early Childhood?

How do you build a child’s brain? Well, one of the most promising approaches might remind you of a game of tennis or playing ping pong. Research tells us that the interaction between children and adults matter. When an infant or young child babbles, coos, talks or cries and an adult reacts with a positive response, a healthy brain is developed.

A baby cries………… the adult responds with a touch, holding or a hug.

A child motions or gestures..…………. the adult responds with eye contact and their own motion or gesture. 

A baby babbles………… the adult responds with words and talks back to the baby.

A child drops an object……… the adult picks it up.

A baby picks up a book………. The adult looks at the book and reads it aloud.

A child points at a picture in a book……… the adult talks about the picture and points to the same picture while describing the illustration. 

A healthy brain is developed when there is a responsive relationship with the adults in a young child’s life.

If responsive caregiving is not present, the brain does not develop as expected, which may cause difficulties in learning and behavior.

 Lisa Howard

President & CEO





Posted on May 30, 2017 .