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Relationship-Based Play

Relationship-Based Play is a play based intervention that is modelled on healthy parent -infant relationships. The focus of the play is the relationship between the child and adult. It is playful, interactive and empathic. In this type of play the main task is enjoying being together.. Relationship based play makes minimal use of toys but instead focuses upon the relationship between participants.

Relationship Based Play is based upon and uses the principles of Theraplay, which is a special type of play-based activity that can improve a child’s behaviour in unique ways.

Using the benefits of joyful play and sensitive support and care giving it focuses on developing social and emotional skills.

Activities help the child to engage in fun based activities that help them to practise positive and appropriate engagement and help to increase self-esteem. This helps them to safely practise allowing an adult to be "in charge" or to place structure on activities.

It helps to develop trust, feel safe and calm and learn that it is good to be a child and safe to take part in the opportunity given to them.


This is usually a 20 minute session and always finishes with a calming activity and snack. It takes part one session a week over four weeks.