Rod and Val enjoy getting on the floor and playing with their children, Jonah and Leonie.

Kids don’t come with a manual and we were finding it hard to capture and hold our son’s attention. Jonah would buzz about the place, never sitting still for long. Parenting books we read gave different advice and none of it worked for us. We felt lost and that we’d failed as parents. The QEC PlaySteps program was our lifeline. It showed us how to enjoy playtime and use it to teach our children. Before then we’d never known playtime could have a purpose and could change behaviour. It’s the little things that count. Just to acknowledge our kids are around us and that we’re interested in them says, “yes, we love you and we are here.”


Our children are happy because they want to play with us and know we enjoy doing it. Dads normally miss out but when Rod comes home, Jonah and Leonie are excited and say “let’s play.” Dinner can wait a few minutes. With QEC’s support we’re relaxed and we know we can have fun with our kids. There are ways of coping and we don’t have to be perfect parents – whatever that means. QEC made no judgements about us. Staff put their heads together to find a solution for our situation. And we got to test different approaches until we found what worked for us.


We learned to use running commentary which means we describe what we’re doing as we do it. We might say, “Jonah’s picking up the blue block and pushing the yellow car.” Kids match the words with the action and it quickly sinks in. We found praising our children for what they do makes a difference. They’re listening to us more and are confident to try new things. You don’t need a Nintendo to play. It’s our imagination that gives us the enjoyment — even a cardboard box makes a great toy.