Play – May 26th, 2017
Play is the business of childhood, allowing your child free rein to experiment with the world around them and the emotional world inside them. While it may look like mere child’s play to you, there’s a lot of work — problem solving, skill building, overcoming physical and mental challenges — going on behind the scenes. Here are some of the things your child is experiencing and learning, along with ideas on how you can help boost the benefits of their play.
Play builds the imagination
Pretending, or imaginative play, is one of the cornerstones of a young child’s world. Kids begin demonstrating this behavior around the age of 2 and onwards. Almost anything can spur your child’s imagination, including everyday objects. This is because they use them as symbols, they are learning that one thing can stand for other things. Using this new ability to pretend, they can transform a block of wood into a boat, a few pots and pans into a drum set.
Everyday objects aren’t the only things that are transformed in your child’s make-believe world. So are the roles they assume in their play. Moving from superhero to daddy to police officer with ease. By experimenting with diverse jobs and identities, children are able to explore a variety of scenarios and outcomes. Sometimes the stories they act out reflect issues they are struggling to understand.
If for example a child is coming to terms with a new sibling, the child may incorporate a lot of nurturing behavior into their play, mimicking your interaction with their new brother or sister. Imaginative play gives your child a sense of control as they interpret the dramas of everyday life and practice the rules of social behavior.
How you can encourage imaginative play: Keep a box of everyday items that your child can use during pretend play. Kid versions of adult objects, such as telephones and dishes, help facilitate role playing, and open-ended objects (objects/toys that can have more than one use), such as colored blocks, stretch the imagination with unlimited possibilities.
Your role when playing with your child
It is helpful to allow your child to lead during play. Let your child determine what to do and how to do it within the limits of safety and time constraints. This lets them try out their judgment and allows them to show you what they are delighted in.
Join in your child’s play, but only when invited to do so. As they let you into their world of make-believe, give them complete control. In real life, you may be in charge, but this is their world. The attention you show your child when you play together is key to building their self-esteem. For example, when you pretend along with them, you’re showing them that you accept their make-believe world, that something they are interested in is fun and important to you, too.
Have a great weekend everyone… we will see you all on Monday 🙂 Neha & Jessica