The Power of Play
Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and ENVIRONMENTS.
No matter what age, open-ended play is the greatest. It allows your child to be free in their mind, and explore their imagination. These imaginations fuse into dreams, that may transpire into reality. Play is the lens that children see through. It takes nothing to create, and cost everything if they don't have it.
It is totally natural to have reservations regarding play. Allow your child to play in the capacity of your limits. If you don't like messes, find a way for it to be practical but provide the experience. Karter, my 2 yr old daughter, loves finger paint. As a mother, I was terrified she would get up from her seat and get paint on the walls. Ha! During bath time, I found some safe food coloring and liquid soap or shampoo, mixed and VOILA! She could finger paint. The point is to make the play comfortable for you. It makes for a more positive experience.
Tip: I use this tool as a way to enhance play. Think of PRIDE:
PRAISE: notice all the behaviors you like to see your child do and praise your child for it. Be specific and detailed, it takes practice, but it will shift negative seeking behavior to more positive seeking behavior. This also builds confidence and self esteem.
REFLECT: repeat statements that your child says directly or indirectly to let your child know "wow she really is listening to me".
IMITATE: Do what they do as long as it's appropriate. They bark like a dog, or laugh, bark and laugh!
DESCRIBE: Talk about what they are doing. Their play should be your narrative.
ENJOY- Have fun. And if you're not having fun PRETEND!
For more information regarding PRIDE skills, simply google it!