Tag: Play

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

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.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria
Play and emotional wellness – play is a way for your child to express his feelings

 

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.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria
Play and emotional wellness – fantasy play for children, an important part of child devlopment

 

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!

 

Photo credits:
Thank you to the below authors for the amazing pictures used in this blog!
Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash
Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist in Midstream Pretoria

Easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days: Dr. Marisa van Niekerk

Easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days

Easy and fun activities to keep your children busy during cold days as well as during Covid-19 days

One of the most frequently asked questions by mom’s over the years is “What else can I do to keep my children busy on cold and rainy days?”. Nowadays this has become “I’m running out of ideas of what to play”. Or “What creative activities are left, as the lockdown already lasted for 21 days and there are two more weeks to come?”. “My children are so bored now.”

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist in Midstream Pretoria
Sorting shapes and colours – playing and learning at the same time

But let’s take a step back, why is play important, and what are the benefits of playing?

What does play really mean?

Let’s just pause for a moment to think why children need to play. Playing is not just keeping your child busy to have peace for hopefully a few minutes (if you are lucky!). A child’s play is an art and science on it’s own. Hymes describes play as ”….. thinking time for young children. It is language time. Problemsolving time. It is memory time, planning time, investigating time. It is organization-of-ideas time when the young child uses his mind and body and his social skills and all his powers in response to the stimulus he has met.”

What do parents give their children through play – the benefits of playing?

  • Physical, body development
    Building with blocks – another great play learning activity
    • Examples: Catching and throwing a ball, running around, climb, 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 learn to solve problems.
  • Emotional development
    • Examples: Learn to express his emotions, develops self confidence, helps to better deal with conflict.
  • Social development
    • Examples: Learns to work together with peers, to respect others, it helps to form his identity and teaches a child about leading and following.

Playing improves concentration

Play improves concentration in children. All the above mentioned areas of development forms the foundation for spelling, reading and mathematics. Please read this again, play is the basis for reading, spelling and maths. For the mom’s who need to keep all the balls in the air (house keeping: cleaning, preparing food, washing, ironing as well as keeping the children busy with activities and play and who are forced to stay within a limited budget) I salute you!

For the mom’s who ‘don’t have time to play’, I hope that you will realise what difference you can make in your child’s development by creating play activities.

Visit my Facebook page for examples of easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days

If you are looking for creative easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days, look no further. I have put a lot of easy, fun activities on my Facebook page. Pictures are added which make it easy for you to scroll through and to get new ideas. It will also trigger your brain to create new ideas. Have fun!

 

Photo credits:

Thank you to the following authors for the amazing pictures used in this blog.
Building blocks – Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Sorting shapes and colours – Photo by Soraya Irving on Unsplash
Child playing with cars – Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash
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