Why is it important? The observation period will give you and the child an opportunity to relax into the interaction. This can be especially difficult when you first begin Banking Time and, as a result, the observation portion of the interaction is likely to be longer in your initial sessions with a child. The process of observation begins to communicate to the child, in a non-judgmental manner, that you are interested and attentive. It also helps to remind you to let the child take initiative and lead the session.
How is it accomplished? Spend a few moments watching the child before joining in the play. Take your time and as you observe think of some of the following:
- Which activity does the child choose? Why do you think he/she chose this activity?
- What is the child's affect during the first few minutes of play?
- How are you feeling-anxious, bored, excited, frustrated? What do you think it is about this interaction that is making you feel this way?
- Notice something about the child that you haven't noticed before. For example, does he/she use a particular word a lot in play or have a nervous mannerism you haven't seen before.
- Does the child attempt to engage you in play? If so, what verbal and non-verbal signals does he/she use to do so?
Record your observations and thoughts on the "Banking Time Log" as soon as possible after the end of the session. This will make you more cognizant of changes and/or progress in future sessions with the child and will provide useful information for consultation sessions.