Playing Patty-Cake

With younger children the communication is more and more nonverbal but still ideally requires periods of total concentration.

You can't play patty-cake very well when your mind is elsewhere. And if you can only play patty-cake halfheartedly, you are running the risk of having a halfhearted child. Adolescent children require less total listening time from their parents than a six-year-old but even more true listening time.

They are much less likely to chatter aimlessly, but when they do talk, they want their parents' full attention even more than do the younger children.

M Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled