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Using research techniques to get some sense out of my four-year-old

August 30, 2018

My son is now 4 years old. Have you ever tried to get any sense out of a four year old?  Mine just wants to talk about ninjas.  But lately now we’re not together all the time I wonder about his day.  You know, what he had for lunch, who he played with at nursery, what they did.  Mysterious secret stuff like that.  But nah, a four year old talks about what a four year old wants to talk about.  So I’ve been feeling pretty pleased with myself that I’ve thought to try one of my research ‘tricks of the trade’ on him, and that it works!  Hurray!

I’m using projective techniques.  “Projective techniques seek to get to the subconscious. Participants are asked to project their feelings and thoughts onto other things.”  I’m sure there’s all sorts of psychology and child development literature that might bring you to use the same theory.  Anyhoo, the idea is that if you dissociate the individual from the situation, they actually tell you more about it.

So we’ve been playing bath games with our rubber ducks.  We drop in a whole bucket-load of ducks, and we play:

  • Duck nursery
  • Duck holiday club
  • Duck childminder
  • Duck swimming class
  • (you get the idea)

All I have to do is set it running: “This duck is the teacher Mrs Duck-Hill, and here’s all the little ducks coming for a day at nursery.  Oh look it’s Duck Arran. Who else is here today?  And what are they going to do?”  And off it goes.  Sometimes it goes off at a tangent (transformers or ninjas becoming involved) but typically my son plays out the day and we get to find out a bit about what he’s been doing, the routine, the personalities of his friends and teachers, and even a bit about feelings if we’re lucky.

Good, eh?!

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