The art of playing is really hard. As the adult you need to hand the reins over to the kids and follow their play. This is easier said than done. Some adults find it hard to let go and allow their children to lead. Some just can’t help themselves but start controlling the childs play. Why is play so hard?
The urge that we have to control play is exactly the same for the children. They want to control what happens. Children can get really frustrated if adults don’t do as they’re told and start changing things or sending the play in a different direction. Play is a child’s way of engaging with the world. They learn to think, to problem solve, to be imaginative and to work with others. The ability to give clear instructions or to take on the views of others are invaluable skills.
They can also play out events that have puzzled them or that are worrying them. Having the time to act this out and then move on is another vital skill for emotional well being. Children need to process emotions and come out the other end by themselves. They then learn that most situations they can deal with. Children are so used to a high level of supervision and support that they can develop a mindset of ‘I can’t do it without an adult’. When often they can (and their parents probably did!)
Adults are so used to managing events in a child’s life that sometimes they don’t even realise they are doing this in their play. It is essential that parents get down and play with their kids but this means taking the orders! Children of school age know what it is to be challenged. The school curriculum is very challenging. At home, being able to win and get ‘one over’ an adult can be liberating and a huge confidence boost (they know that you can win you don’t need to prove it!) this adds to their self esteem piggy bank so that when they hit challenges at school they approach them with confidence.
The world is there to be explored and examined and turned into lava. Kids are amazingly creative. They are sponges to new (accurate) information but sometimes if they want a dandelion to be a fairy sun then go wth it!
Such ideas can trigger strong feelings for parents. Join us for the parents Time to Talk group at Indulge Hornbeam Park Thursday 3rd August. Or the Modern Parenting must haves! Seminar in September. Contact tracy@enrichingparenting for more information and to book.