Play is a child's way of communicating, it is their language. Through play, children express themselves freely, manifesting a wide range of emotions and affections, many more that they can put into words. If we want to get to know our child, the best way is to play with her, to get involved in her play, to take an interest in what she displays. Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to ask our children questions that could be answered by watching them play. Through play, we can find out how she feels, what things she likes, what things she is afraid of, what desires she has, how she experiences herself, her family, friends. This communicative aspect of play is very important for all children, but it is an essential tool to connect with children who do not have verbal language.
Through play we create affectional bonds with our children, we create strong bonds that remain over time. Through the interaction of play, we show the child that we are interested in being with him/her and having fun together. I believe that it is very important for parents to have playtime with their children, and in cases where there are more siblings, it is important to have playtime together, but also individual and quality time with each one. It is even more important that each parent can have separate moments to be with the child alone so that the bond with each one is strengthened.
The adult is the first toy that the child has, so it is important to promote these play spaces to stimulate their affective and also cognitive development. Through play, new concepts, ideas, and values are learned, attention is focused, understanding is improved, ideas are expressed and decisions are made. Thus, play is a key element in stimulating healthy development in our children. Affective connections such as those generated through play with each other stimulate very important new nerve connections in the infant's brain.
Through symbolic play, the child rehearses roles and social situations that are very important for their future. Rules (e.g., raising your hand and listening to your partner when playing teachers) and social skills (e.g., empathy and caring when playing doctors) are rehearsed. Also, the child tries out different skills and tasks through play that allows her to explore her interests and passions from an early age.
- When a child does not play, it should be a warning sign. In these cases as well as when it is a game charged with negative emotions it is important to consult a professional to know the specific causes of the problem and help her as soon as possible.
Things to keep in mind when playing:
- Have fun!, get into their world and become "children" for a moment and lose your shame.
- Have a first moment where you can observe what the child does, what objects she is interested in, what actions she performs, etc.
- Establish a play routine to make sure that every day you spend some time playing with them.
- Promote the use of educational toys, like our sensory boxes, which are fun and motivating but at the same time, they stimulate learning and are beneficial for their healthy development!
- Do not impose an activity if the child does not like it. Play does not have to be forced, it has to be enjoyable and in line with the child and his differences.
- Don't compare him with other children. Celebrate and recognize his achievements and learning.
- Tune in: sometimes our sensory profile does not match the child's and it is necessary to review and make adjustments (e.g. I yell a lot and my child is sensitive to loud sounds).
And last but not least... Play it's not just for kids, so have fun!!
"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing" Charles E. Schaefer