Play is what children do, it is their job, and what a fantastic job it is. From the very first time that they successfully push their toys around and clap their hands, play is how a child learns about the world and where they belong in it. As they grow, children are influenced by everything that they see and their play expands to involve maybe their favourite television characters and people. As they get older, their play involves friends, and that includes you, as a parent, so that they can practice human interaction within a safe and familiar environment.
It may seem that your child is just dumping all those sequins on the floor for no reason, or that they are moving those toys around the house just to annoy you, or hiding under the neatly-made bed-covers to be naughty, you couldn’t be further from the truth. These actions are in response to a child’s urges to play in this way, their schemas, and they are helping your child figure out how the world works. If they are getting in the way of your neat and tidy home then maybe you could dedicate a corner to schema play, or make sure that they are exploring the schema with safe and appropriate objects (not your favourite breakables).
Every day, no matter how busy you are or untidy the house is, it is so important to take some time to play. Sit on the floor, stand on your head, hide under the table with your child and discover how the world looks through their eyes. Put the next job on your list completely out of your mind and be present in the here and now with the most important person or people in the world.
Written by our regular contributor Catherine.
All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Room To Grow.