Serve and return:
The building blocks of
The mortar of relationships and the wiring for other skills
WRITTEN BY TERRY BULLICK
A baby gurgles at you, and you say:“Hello there.” He smiles and you smile.
He laughs and you laugh back. This isserve and return.
Children and adults have had these
kinds of exchanges for as long as
and emotional control. It’s big.
Serve and return is like a game of
tennis or volleyball. A child begins
with a gesture or sound—the serve—
and a caring, familiar adult in her life
(mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent,
there have been adults and children.
More recently, research has found justhow important serve and return is tochildren: it is the building block of brainarchitecture, the mortar of relationshipsand the wiring for language, social skills
Serve and return can occur between a child and any caring, familiar adult in her life.