Ready Steady Go
What is it? Ready Steady Go is one of the simplest strategies for engagement and can be adapted into multiple situations. It is one of the best places to start, especially if you are just trying to get that first flicker of eye contact, that you can build on over time.
How to use it?
- In the beginning choose an item that your child cannot take away, something that they need you in order to do something to get more of. Great examples are bubbles, or if they like tactile play – throwing them up in the air!
- Once you have your activity, position yourself in your child’s line of sight. This can be challenging, especially if you have a runner, you will need to keep yourself on the move.
- Get your bubbles ready, or your child ready to throw them, and announce “Ready, Steady, Go”
- Blow the bubbles or throw them in the air. It is worth noting that you are not looking for any engagement on the first go. You are just executing the activity once, first to get yourself comfortable with it, and secondly to allow your child to get a glimpse of what the activity is.
- For the second attempt, announce “Ready, Steady” then pause. This pause will seem like ages, but what you want is engagement from your child. You may get full eye contact, you may get them shouting for more, or you may get a split second of their eyes flicking in your direction. When you get any engagement, even just a flicker of eye contact, announce “Go” and blow your bubbles or throw them in the air.
- Continue the process, remembering that this is about your child giving you something (engagement/eye contact) for a reward.
Taking it forward
It will take time, depending on where your child is in their development, but the key is to not give up, and reward those seconds of eye contact. Give loads of exciting praise and make it fun.
As your child extends the time of eye contact, or starts to engage more, you can prompt for sound in order to initiate the Go. Just keep that pause for a bit longer and see what happens. You are not looking for a word, just a vocalisation.
Building on the sound, and the continuous repetition of the words Ready, Steady, Go, will firstly introduce new vocabulary, but also provide a foundation where these words can be used to trigger events or commencement of activities.
Once your child has built an understanding of the technique, and you feel it is right, you can introduce toys, like a car going down a ramp, or throwing a ball.
Read about this strategy in action in Bubbles and Three Little Words.