1. In preparation try to imagine what the actual instance of Emotion Sharing will be while engaging in the activity (i.e. falling into the beanbags together, finding the prize together during treasure hunt). We call this the “pay-off.”.2. Try not to describe what you’re going to do. There is no need to pre-announce. Just launch into the activity, as pre-announcing reduces the anticipation and surprise.
3. If it helps, you can start by chanting a song while holding hands for a smoother transition (i.e. going for a walk, going for a walk).
4. If two Coaches are involved, don’t explain what the objective is, the pay-off or who does what within ear shot of the Partner (child) as this may also reduce anticipation and productive uncertainty.
5. Excessive language also reduces the surprise and spontaneous interactivity between Coach and Partner.
6. You can spotlight transitions and actual emotion-sharing moments with expressive sounds (i.e. “Ooooohhhh, aaahhh, Gotcha! Wow! Whheee! Sssshhh).
7. Avoid fill-in-the-blank statements, prompts or questions (i.e. Do you want to play again?). These are all forms of imperative communication. Imperative communication begets a response.
8. Try to increase non-verbal declarative communication with a change in your body position, subtle movement, and change of pace, scaffolding.
9. If a game framework is involved, be cautious about a “winning” outcome creeping in. Try to avoid very obvious outcome elements, like shooting a ball into the basket. Do you need two people to do this?
10. A valid question to continually prove an activity’s value is to ask yourself: If I wasn’t here, would the activity be just as rewarding to my son/daughter? The goal of Emotion Sharing is to become an integral, necessary partner in the event – to co-own it together.
11. Celebrate the success that both of you share, not a technical achievement on the part of the Partner.
12. To increase Emotion Sharing opportunities, try the following:
• Slow down the action.
• Interject long pauses and periods of silence.
• Build-up the excitement with gradual changes in your own emotional state.
• De-emphasize the prop, object or activity – it is the journey, not the destination.
• Add incremental, subtle variations so the activity does not turn into a static routine.
13. Remember that Emotion Sharing is not entertainment. It is not an individual sport. You need two people to create an episodic memory about human interaction and competency.