Play and emotional wellness – child development
Play and emotional wellness
Play and your child’s emotional wellness: part 1
In my previous article? “Easy and fun activities to keep your children busy during cold days as well as during Covid-19 days”, I have explained the importance of play with regards to your child’s development (emotional, physical, brain and social). Today I want to discuss play and emotional wellness are linked to child development.
Examples of some of the benefits of play on emotional wellness and development can be seen below:
- Physical, body development
- Examples: Catching and throwing a ball, running around, climbing onto, building things like houses, cars, robots, etc. (construction play).
- Brain development (cognitive development)
- Examples: Gaining knowledge about the meaning of big/small, loud/soft, up/down; sorting of things according to colour, shape, size and learning to solve problems.
- Emotional development
- Examples: Learning to express his emotions, develops self confidence, helps to better deal with conflict.
- Social development
- Examples: Learning to work together with peers, to respect others, helping to form his identity and teaching a child about leading and following.
Play and your child’s emotional wellness: part 2
Play is an important and invaluable “tool” which empowers a child.
Today I want to zoom in on play as an important “tool” which is used by children (without being aware of using it) to deal with feelings of anxiety, fear, insecurities, conflict, rejection, unfairness and many more.
Play further becomes a “tool” through which children practice role play and role identities.
Slavon describes the process which takes place through plays as: “Through play the child expresses traumatic fixations, conflicts and hostilities. The child also uses play to disguise genuine conflicts and difficulties, or he may use play to relax tension and anxiety. Of greatest importance is the fact that the young child discharges aggression and seeks to overcome traumatic anxieties through play; it acts as regulative mechanism.”
Every preprimary school which is worth his salt will have a variety of fantasy play activities like a dollhouse (with a kitchen and play food, dolls, a sitting room etc.), a variety of clothes (cowboys, dress up, clowns, animals), farm, space, shop, gym, garage with cars, and more.
But don’t rely on the school alone. It is even more important is that you also create the opportunity for fantasy play at home. Collect a lot of boxes, crates, hats, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etcetera that your child can use to build constructions like a house, shop, racing track, and more. Children only become more capable to verbalise (tell us) about their emotions at an older age, but even six year olds still struggle to verbalise what they feel and experience. Therefore play is of utmost importance, as it becomes the “tool” through which your child expresses his anxiety, anger, sadness as well as his joy, pride, happiness, etcetera.
Every day children, like adults, are challenged with a lot of emotions and insecurities which you might not even be aware of. Take the step and provide your child with the “tools” that he needs to change his “unfinished issues” into more “finished issues”. He dearly needs it!