Child Therapy: Difficulty with Theory of Mind

Theoryof Mind allows children to consider other people’s feelings based on their actions. If a child knows their friend gets upset when they throw the ball at them, the child might not do it. Theory of Mind promotes positive cooperative play.

Maria Grazia Montagnari

There are some children who struggle with the development of Theory of Mind. Developmental Child therapy is a good solution to help promote and instill Theory of Mind in children. Below is a list of children that have a difficult time developing the Theory of Mind.

 

If a child struggles with Theory of Mind they most likely cannot hold a reciprocal conversation. They do not understand other people have different feelings, thoughts, and wants. They may struggle meeting friends and participating in pretend play.

Promoting Theory of Mind

If your child is struggling with Theory of Mind, here are some strategies to help promote Theory of Mind:

Play: During playtime is a great opportunity to model Theory of Mind. Get on your child’s 
level while playing and use vivid facial expressions while you are playing. Play with the toys 
your child likes so the child is interested at all times. 


Verbalize perspectives: While you and your child are playing, verbalize all of your feelings, 
thoughts, and wants. Narrate during the entire playtime for both you and your child. For example, “I want to use a blue crayon, but you want to use a red crayon” or “I feel happy when you share your crayons”. 


Role Play: Encourage pretend play with your child. Choose a character that the child has had a lot of interaction with such as a doctor, police, or teacher. Model pretend play by devoting yourself to the character. 


Books: Story time can be used to present different perspectives. Discuss the character’s feelings, thoughts, and wants with your child. For a child to understand the character’s perspective relate it to the child’s experiences. For instance, “Madeline is sad because she hurt herself. Were you sad when you fell and hurt yourself today?”

If you are concerned about your child’s Theory of Mind development contact Step by Step Care Group to meet with a Developmental to determine the best Child therapy approach for your child.

References:

Lowry, Lauren. “”Tuning In” to Others: How Young Children Develop Theory of Mind.” Tuning In to Others: How Young Children Develop Theory of Mind. The Hanen Centre, n.d. Web. 17 June 2015.

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