Parent Coaching Module 1: Capturing your child's attention

Mother and child clapping


Step into the Spotlight

“Increasing your child’s attention can foster fun activities to promote learning”

Goal: Learn how to increase your child’s attention to you as a foundation for fostering learning opportunities for your child.

Why is this important? Learning requires paying attention to people. One of the most important skills for an infant to develop is the ability to watch, listen, and learn from others. Babies and very young children prefer to watch and interact with their significant caregivers more than objects. Looking at and interacting with other people are pleasurable activities for babies and young children. When this skill is delayed or interrupted for some reason, they miss these experiences and opportunities to learn.

What you can do to increase your child’s attention to you? The following sections will take you through the five steps that can help you learn ways to improve your child’s attention to you. This includes the rationale for each step, and links to additional reading and videos to support your understanding and illustrate the concepts.

Finally, we have included “Refrigerator Posts” you can download, print and post to your fridge, playroom or anywhere else to use as a handy reminder of ways you can incorporate learning into your daily play and routines.

Click on the following links to view each step for capturing your child’s attention 

Step 1: Identify what is motivating for your child
Step 2: Step on to the stage
Step 3: Eliminate the competition
Step 4: Understand your child’s social comfort zone
Step 5: Join in by following your child’s lead


Module Summary: The goal of this module has been to help you learn ways to capture your child’s attention so learning opportunities can occur. By discovering what captures your child’s attention and using these steps to enter their spotlight, you can follow your child’s lead to increase your child’s attention to you and foster fun activities that promote learning.

Reminder noteRefrigerator Posts: Download and print these pages to post as handy reminders and suggestions for activities to capture your child’s attention.

Refrigerator Posts [PDF]  

Refrigerator Posts [MSWord]

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Adapted from: An early start for your child with Autism: Using everyday activities to help kids connect, communicate, and learn. Rogers, S.J., Dawson, G., Vismara, L.A. (2012). New York: Guilford Press.