Pro tip: The easiest way to find answers to your question is to “Find” (Cmd+F on a Mac or Ctrl+F on Windows) and type the simplest form of the word you’re looking for. For example, searching for the word dog will bring up the FAQ “What if doorbell rings for the dog walker, delivery, etc.?”

FAQ about scheduling and recruitment

How far can we go to visit a family for a home visit?
  • The only restriction is that the family must live in the same state as the site. It is up to the PI and research team what the maximum distance they want to travel is. Depending on the location, some sites may have longer commute times than others.
Are travel expenses (i.e. public transportation or gas) reimbursed?
  • Please speak with your site PI about what travel expenses can be covered and how to obtain reimbursements.
If mom asks if she needs to be alone during the study, and if father/aunt/nanny/etc. can be anywhere at home during the study

For the first 90 minutes of this study, we are interested in how mothers and children interact. It should only be you and your child during the first half of our visit. If father/aunt/nanny/etc isn’t able to stay out of the home for the full time that we’re there, they can come back for the last hour.

If mom specifically says that the father/anyone works at home and that it’s inconvenient for them to leave

We really want just mom and child in the house during the first half of the visit. If there is a separate room with a door that the child never goes into (and that the father/person wouldn’t leave anytime during the first half of the visit), then it’s ok. But, if it’s only a corner of the room of if the child.

What if phone questionnaire was not done before home visit?
  • Ideally this should be completed before the visit, over the phone, because some of these questions will ensure eligibility of the family to participate
  • Complete it right before the other questionnaires but do not record this portion
Mom says she needs to ask child’s father about participating

Sure, we will send you an email about what the study is about and include the permission forms that we will have you sign. Would it be alright if we called you back in 2-3 days?

  • Setup time to call back.
Parent unsure about sharing videos

Video data like this is incredibly valuable for us and other developmental researchers around the country.
To participate in this study, we would ask to be able to share the video with other developmental researchers, like the professor who runs our lab. The goal is to make what we learn from you and your baby available to other scientists. We won’t share anything publicly unless you agree to it. On our permission forms, there are two levels of permission and you can indicate whatever you are comfortable with. If you want, we can send you an email with a copy of the form for you to look over. Can I give you a call back in 2-3 days to see if you would be interested in participating?

  • If parent still does not want to share video, do not schedule them.

FAQ about data collection


What if father/partner/aunt/nanny/etc. is there when experimenter gets there?
  • Usually mom says [PERSON] is going to leave.
  • If mom doesn’t appear to send [PERSON] out, then say: We just want to double check that you’re ok with being alone with the child for the first 90 minutes of this visit. As we mentioned earlier, we just want you and your child at home. If [PERSON] needs more time to leave, we could start with questionnaires.
At any point during the visit, what if a major protocol violation occurs? E.g.,
  • Second person is there during the natural interaction
  • Mom interacts with the experimenter repeatedly during the recording
  • You learn something about child’s or mom’s health that excludes them from the study
  • Mom or child engages in some other behavior that would invalidate the visit

Conduct the study as usual, complete all steps in procedure. The participant won’t count toward the 30 good participants but parts of the video and questionnaires will be usable to someone.

At any point during the visit, what if there are technical issues with the equipment?
  • If it occurs within approximately the first 15 minutes of the study, ask the mom if it would be possible to reschedule. Remember to be apologetic and professional.
  • If it occurs in the middle of the session, continue with the rest of the visit to the best of your ability and if necessary, “fake” the recording. Experimenter should make note of what happened in the post-visit notes.
At any point during the visit, what if the experimenter feels unsafe or uncomfortable?
  • Experimenter’s safety should be considered above the completion of the home visit.
  • Explain to mom that you are feeling unwell and cannot complete the visit. Remember to be apologetic and professional while doing so (For example, I’m not feeling great right now. I’m so sorry but I don’t think that I will be able to finish the rest of the visit. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience. )
  • If mom has already signed the study permission form, experimenter should still provide subject payment (if possible) before leaving. (For example, Again, I’m really sorry about this. We will definitely still pay you for this visit though. Can you please sign this form?)
  • Experimenter should make a note of what happened in the post-visit notes.
At any point during the visit, what if the experimenter feels concerned for the safety of the participants?
  • Experimenters should follow the mandated reporting guidelines provided by their institutions.
What if the mom feeds the child during the one-hour natural play?
  • That’s fine, just continue recording.
  • No need to add time, i.e., record more than one hour.
What if child is sleeping when I get there?
  • Do the questionnaire first.
  • Start one-hour natural play recording as soon as child wakes.
  • It is alright to stop questionnaire and then resume later after recording interactions.
What if mom asks where she can go during recording?

Say You can go anywhere inside your home. We just ask that you not go outside, to the backyard, porch, balcony, or building hallways. Not every family will have an outside space and we want to try to keep it consistent for everyone.

What if child gets naked or gets a diaper change?
  • If mom is comfortable, continue recording, shifting position if necessary to avoid getting a direct shot of the pelvic area.
  • If she is uncomfortable, ask if she is okay with you turning your camera away to look at something else but continue recording to capture the language.

What if mom is concerned about parts of video when signing the Databrary release form? Like breastfeeding or child is naked?
  • Remind her: Your video will only be shared with other scientists if you mark Authorized Investigators. It won’t be shown to anyone other than those researchers.
  • If mom insists, then make notes in clean up sheet and assure mom that PLAY staff will obscure those parts of video. Include in your notes the approximate time of recording.
What if mom offers you food or drink or anything else?
  • Always decline.
  • Bring your own water.
What if I need to go to the bathroom during the visit?
  • Do not. Plan your bathroom breaks around the visit (it will be approx 2.5 hrs long).
  • If it is an emergency, ask very politely to go in between the different portions of the visit.
What if mom asks you to stay with her child to get the mail, go outside, bathroom, etc.?
  • Say No worries. In that case, we can stop recording and you can take him/her with you. We can resume the recording whenever you’re ready.
  • If mom insists it’s okay, say: Because of legal reasons, I cannot assume responsible for care of your child.
What if mom ends the session early and you didn’t finish everything?
  • Try to finish what you can. Do your best to record the house walkthrough if you can (especially main living space and child’s room or sleeping area, clothes, toys, etc.)
  • If you are unable to complete the questionnaires, you must set up a time to call mom to do so on the phone.

One-hour natural play

What if the mom wants to go outside?

Say As a reminder, we ask that you stay inside during our visit. If you have to go outside, we can stop the recording and resume whenever you’re ready.

What if child falls asleep in middle of hour of recording?
  • If child is noticeably sleepy: It’s okay if he/she needs to take a nap. We can just complete the questionnaires now and see if he wakes up afterwards to do the one-hour natural recording. If not, can we reschedule our visit?”
  • You will need a full, uninterrupted one-hour recording of natural play.
What if mom want to interact with you?
  • Respond with very short but polite sentences. Quickly and quietly remind mom that you want them to go about day as if you’re not there.
What if mom is talking about or to me?
  • Ignore it at first. If it continues for too long, quickly and quietly remind mom that you want them to go about day as if you’re not there.
What if the baby keeps trying to interact with me?
  • Don’t look directly at the child. If you need to look at the child, look at them through video recording screen.
  • Children will usually try to do this during the first 5-10 mins of your visit. Do not interact with them.
  • If child tries to hand you something, take a step back. If child is looking at you, do not move and look away. Try to move back and put space between you and child. If necessary, move behind furniture or record from another room.
  • If child persists in interacting with you, keep recording. Be sure to make notes in Clean Up.
What if doorbell rings for the dog walker, delivery, etc.?
  • Do not record the person coming. Try to still record baby and mom from discrete angle. If unable to do so without also capturing other person, record the floor during that time so we can account for that time.
  • If mom asks to stop recording, then stop and add extra time.
What if mom goes to the bathroom?
  • The mom will usually take child in with her. Keep the camera recording from the outside. Record the closed door, or the floor (if the door isn’t completely closed). It is important to keep the camera running so we know how long they were in there.
  • If mom asks you to watch child: We are not allowed to watch him/her for you but can take him/her into the bathroom with you.
What if the mom breastfeeds?
  • If mom just starts doing it: Record from a discrete angle (from the mom’s back) so you know where the child and mom are and roughly what they are doing.
  • If mom asks “Is it okay to breastfeed [CHILD]?”, say Sure, is it ok that I keep recording from behind you?

What if mom changes the baby?
  • If mom just starts: Record as clearly as possible but try to get face and hands rather than genitalia.
  • If mom asks “Is it ok if I change [CHILD]?”, say Is it ok if record from behind you just to get their face?
At any point, if mom asks “Do you mind not recording this?”
  • Say Is it ok that I point camera somewhere else and continue recording?
  • Make sure mom sees you are doing this. That way we can account for the amount of time and language is being recorded.
  • If mom says no, then turn off camera. Record extra time to still reach 60 minutes.
The video of the natural play session is split into two files. What should I do?
  • Label each recording as PLAY_SITE_###NaturalPlay_part1 and PLAY_SITE###_NaturalPlay_part2
  • Contact the PLAY team to troubleshoot a solution to the issue

Five-minute Structured Play

What if child doesn’t want to play but stays on the mat?
  • Continue recording for 5 minutes.
What if child wants to play with the toys but moves off the mat?
  • Follow the child and record for 5 minutes.
What if child doesn’t want to play with the toys and moves off the mat?
  • Follow the child and record for 5 minutes.
What if mom doesn’t want child to play with these toys?
  • Reassure mom that we wash and sanitize the toys before each visit. If mom is still uncomfortable with child playing with the toys, move onto next part of study.


What if the father/partner/aunt/nanny/etc. is present during the questionnaires portion?
  • It is ok if the [PERSON] is at home. However, we don’t want the [PERSON] to answer or comment during the questionnaires. The [PERSON] can interact with the child or be elsewhere in the home.
  • Say “For this part we are going ask some questions just to [CHILD’S] mom. For consistency, since sometimes other individuals aren’t present or part of the family, we want just the mother to answer the questions.”
What if mom wants to skip section of questionnaire?
  • Move onto next part of questionnaire.
What to do if experimenter is unable to complete all the questionnaires during the home visit?
  • If the experimenter is unable to go over all the questionnaires during the visit (because the mother does not have time, the child is irritable and mother asks to finish, or there is another reason why you cannot continue) schedule a video call to complete remotely. The administration of the locomotor milestones, language/vocabulary measures, and Databrary form MUST be done in the home.
  • Guidelines for completing the questionnaires on a video call:
    • The call must be done within 48 hours of the home visit.
    • Remind the mother of the agreement level she signed on the Databrary form and confirm that she agrees to share the video call with the rest of the data. Say Just as a reminder, the videos collected today are part of the data we collected during our home visit. You agreed to share the data on Databrary, an online video library were only authorized users have access, with other RESEARCHERS (AND IMAGES FOR PRESENTATIONS [IF APPLIES]). Do you agree to share this video recording as part of the data?
    • Video call must be recorded with mom in view and uploaded with the rest of the data from the visit. Label the file as PLAY_SITE_###_Questionnaires_remote (e.g. PLAY_NYUNI_024_Questionnaires_remote)
    • Share your screen so that the mother can see the questionnaires and scales when it applies.
    • The questionnaire must be completed on the same KoboToolBox session and form that was started in the home.
Mom says the child knows some words in sign language - does that count?
  • No, for the purposes of PLAY, sign language words do not count as spoken words.

House Walkthrough

The laser isn’t working
  • The laser won’t work against mirror or glass. Try again from a different angle.
The room is oddly shaped, i.e. not a rectangle
  • Measure the longest dimension for length and breadth
What if there is a room that the mom or child never entered during recording?
  • Ask to record and take measurements of every room in the house (including that room) anyway.
  • Ask if child have access to and goes into the room.
What if they refuse to let you in a specific room?
  • Ask if child have access to and goes into the room.
  • Make notes in Clean Up.