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Individual Growth and Development Indicators
for Infants and Toddlers
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Can a child's parent or caregiver serve as a play partner if he/she is not certified?

Answer: Yes. Sometimes it may be necessary for a child’s parent to act as the play partner during an assessment. This might be because the child is not comfortable playing with you (a developmentally appropriate response if you have not spent much time with the child), or you do not have an extra person who can code the assessment while you’re the play partner, and you do not have a video camera to record the session.

In order to ensure a valid assessment, parents as play partners need to understand and follow a few brief rules, just as you do when you are the play partner.

Before the parent acts as a play partner:

  1. Review the play partner checklist with them
  2. Model appropriate play partner interactions
  3. Have them practice with their child while you provide feedback (does not have to be a full 6-minutes, but at least 2-3 minutes)

Parent as Play Partner Checklist

  1. Parent and child are positioned so they can have eye contact
  2. Parent and child can see and reach toys
  3. Parent follows child’s lead (is not too directive)
  4. Parent comments about what the child is doing
  5. Parent interacts in a non-directive, friendly manner
  6. Parent uses questions sparingly
  7. At the end of the session, parent lets child know that the session is over
  8. At the end of the session, parent thanks the child for playing