Building confidence in your child through play

img_7489Play is vital for children

Of course we all know that children play. Children's play is one of the most important developmental inputs they will ever have. Hard to believe?

When I ask my five year old granddaughter what she would like to do, she always says "Play".

She doesn't know that she is developing her social, emotional and cognitive abilities. She doesn't know she is contributing to her skills base for adulthood. In her play she will learn how to make decisions; how to mature past meltdowns; and how to organise herself; and much much more.

She also doesn't know that when she and her siblings create a cubby that she is learning how to work with others through cooperation, testing, negotiating and extensive language usage. Children's skills build on each other at different ages like a house is built from a solid base to the roof.

All she knows is that she's having fun.

Isn't it amazing that all that wonderful learning can take place naturally without huge amounts of money for classes and teachers. But we have a very important role to play, we parents and grandparents and childcare workers. Children need time and space and resources for this to happen; at home for example, free time after school or on weekends; and maybe old bed sheets to make a cubby.

You can help your child build confidence

You don't always have to instruct or teach your child when you're playing with them. I've noticed that most children have some ideas of their own of what they want to play. You can follow them in this pursuit. Imagine how uplifting it might feel for them if Mum or Dad or Grandma or teacher went along with what they have in mind.

In Child Centered Play Therapy at Swing High that's a very large part of the therapy. Children who do not have a lot of confidence are encouraged to take the lead in therapy. Therapists are highly trained to support this strength building approach so that children begin to realise that they do possess many skills in play. In gaining an insight to their own abilities over time, children begin to believe in themselves and develop confidence.

You too can take part in play with your child in this simple way to help him build confidence in himself.

Bobbi Cruice is a professional therapist who works with children in a strength based approach. She has worked in many roles with children over 40 years.