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 is
serve 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 just
how important serve and return is to
children: it is the building block of brain
architecture, the mortar of relationships
and the wiring for language, social skills
Serve and return can occur between a child and any caring, familiar adult in her life.