Play to learn
Play guidance from Morris, Family Graffiti Founder (and genius!)…
What is playing to learn?
“Parent and Child Attention Time”, i.e. ‘playing to learn’ is the ideal fun opportunity to empower a child to understand and to learn.
Playing should be fun and creative, full of imagination and laughter, and within all of this the child is recording every received message. Imagine what they are recording from your words, actions, expressions, tone and body language, whilst you happily and willingly play along with your child.
How will this help my child?
Attention Time is a valuable ‘healing’ opportunity.
As Therapists we are taught that we have two ears and one mouth – we should listen more than we talk. Let the child express themselves, help open up on their inner thoughts (fears and anxieties even), don’t give simple consoling answers they are unburdening their inner doubts, they are serious; so plant a solution focused answer instead.
Don’t question or judge their words, listen and find the key before ‘refocusing’ their thinking to happy conclusions.
How can I use play to help my child to manage difficult emotions successfully?
Don’t judge ‘failure to achieve the tasks’ in their playtime. Instead applaud their effort to achieve, or their effort to try again (instead of giving up).
Don’t say ‘good boy/girl’ state the accurate; “good effort” or “well done, we’ve made loads of yummy biscuits” or “whoops, should we try that again?” or “I enjoyed us working together, did you”? If you applaud this, their learning process, then they will be more motivated to try again. Maybe they’ll put in even more effort next time, because that is what gets the reward recognition.
They will recognise that ‘learning can be fun’ and that they can achieve anything if they put ‘effort’ in (not by being a ‘good boy/girl, ‘cos in the reverse scenario if you fail you are a bad boy/girl).
Achieving success through making mistakes, is a strong learning process of ‘try and try again’ (not a failure, or a bad boy/girl).
Most of all remember… Children learn from everything they see, hear, copy, touch, taste, smell, like, dislike, mimic etc. and everywhere they go (environment).
Weighing up the consequence and outcome of our behaviours is called cognitive reasoning, and this is a skill that children learn from watching and interpreting the world around them (especially you – their parent)… show them, don’t just tell them.