THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
I am so happy you have found the 3D Parent Podcast. My name is Beaven Walters, and I am your host. Before I created the 3D Parent, I spent over 10 years teaching in various educational settings. I have always had a passion for working with children. After my first child was born, and not too long after my second, I discovered I was truly passionate about parenting in a way that worked for my children. So, I became a certified parent coach to help not only myself, but other parents who were struggling through a tough season in parenting just like me.
This podcast was created with the parent in mind. I am going to be covering the 3D Parent method and systems, so you can gain tangible tools to help you bring dignity, direction and deep connection to your family dynamic. My goal is to help you become the most confident parent you can be, and feel empowered in your parenting choices.
THINGS YOU WILL LEARN IN EP. 19: THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
[1:22] The first thing I would like to do before we start this episode is define true play for you. Play is not work, there are not set rules to follow, there are no constructs and there is no end goal in mind. Play is open ended. There are no rules or constructs to follow and play is consequence free.
[2:41] Why am I dedicating a whole episode to play? Because play can be important for a variety of reasons, first and foremost, play is a place where children can work through their emotions. Play is also where passions can start to emerge. They may find they love building things, or drawing, and the open ended play allows them to just explore what they enjoy with no goal or purpose in mind.
[4:59] Some other really important traits that can be expressed through play include, critical thinking, creativity and emergent energy. It is also very important for brain development and the development of a sense of self and identity.
[6:52] When we see young children play, it is often more dramatic. They will take on the persona of a favorite character or animal, or come up with something completely on their own. They will also do a lot of creating as young children. You may find they really enjoy painting, drawing or building with legos, and all of this is an expression coming from within themselves.
[9:19] One of the best ways to bring about open ended play, and this is one of our favorites, is to just take a box from a delivery to your home and give the empty box to your children. They can create a number of things from an empty cardboard box and this feeds directly into open ended play.
[11:30] Play for older kids looks more like expression through art, music, dance and sometimes even technology (in the sense of using it as a tool to create something). Photography and journaling are also great playgrounds as kids start to get older. Daydreaming can also be considered a form of play for older kids and adults even.
[15:26] I also want to just take the opportunity to stress that it is important to recognize how much free play time is available for children when you are looking at schools and pre-schools for your children. Having play time with tasks that looks more like work is okay, but you want to make sure there is time for open ended play. This play is especially important for children under the age of 6.
[22:21] So how do you preserve play in your household? First, make sure all of your children's connection needs are being met. What I mean by this is, after a period of separation from you, your child is going to want to reconnect with you. I have linked a previous episode that goes in depth regarding how to cultivate connection below.
[24:40] The next step is to refrain from overscheduling your children. If every hour of your day is scheduled with other activities, there will be no time for play for your children, and as we discussed, this emergent play is paramount to allowing your child to develop essential skills.
[25:29] Another thing to note, is screen time is not play. It may be free time, but it is passive and more absorption of other ideas. I know it is tempting to allow children to watch what is considered educational shows, but I encourage you to take a good look at how much screen time your child is getting.
[28:43] Another topic to consider is your kids can’t have open ended play without open ended play materials. Make sure your kids have access to things that will allow them to use their imagination and create and build. Things you may need to stock up on include blocks, legos, paints, crayons, pom poms, popsicle sticks, etc.
[31:28] When your kids come to you with the inevitable boredom complaint, I encourage you to just leave them with, ‘ya know what, I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m sure it will be really cool.’ And just let them come up with something. If they seem really stuck, you can help them one time to brainstorm a list of things they can play with and hang that somewhere they can reference it in the future.
[32:06] Lastly, I want you to train your brain to embrace creative mess. Maybe you need to designate a room where your children can create and make a mess, but I encourage you to embrace the mess. And while you are embracing mess, I encourage you to look at yourself, the adult, and ask yourself where you are making room to play in your own life.
QUOTES FROM THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
“… play is where emotions find a playground. Play is where kids get a chance to work through feelings and emotions that need to be expressed and they can be expressed through play because again, play is consequence free. So oftentimes when kids are working through different feelings and emotions and stresses, when they have this kind of open ended play, some of that emotion, some of those feelings that may have gone kind of under the radar kind of stuff down can kind of come out through play. So it's a healthy place to work through feelings.”
“Kids who have the opportunity to do this open ended play, these children grow up into really confident older children, teens, tweens and adults, because they have this kind of ability to work through emotions, discover passions, work on critical thinking skills and creativity, and develop their own self sense of self …”
“… post my parent coach training post my training in developmental psychology and attachment theory and kids needs in the early years. I chose a school that was the most unstructured as possible …“
“She just naturally developed an interest in learning to read and letters and numbers and making sense of that. And that all kind of came out of her interest in her drive and that this emergent energy I keep referring to. And that drove her interest to learn those things …“
“Welcome boredom when your kids say I'm bored. It usually just means that they're struggling with an uncomfortable feeling, which is this feeling of I don't have anything to do.”
EPISODES TO FURTHER THE DISCUSSION:
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LISTENING …
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