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The Crucial Reasons To Let Kids Play

Kids need play. They need it so much, in fact, that most of the work I do with kids involves play to some degree. Jean Piaget, a famous developmental psychologist, said, “play is the work of childhood”. An amazing gift you can give your child is let them play freely, and often. Here’s why:

1. Kids use play to process unpleasant situations

Kids often play out situations that usually make them anxious, stressed, sad, or angry. The play allows them to experiment with different responses and decisions in a controlled manner. They learn how to respond differently in the future at no threat to themselves.

2. Kids use play to take a break

Life can be stressful for a kid! They have lots to figure out about themselves and the world around them. Play allows kids to take a break from the stresses of growing up. They can let their imaginations run wild and create situations that are not limited by the natural laws of the real world. These experiences help them recharge.

3. Kids use play to express themselves

Many kids have emotions, thoughts, or wishes they can’t express verbally. Characters and creative situations in play provide emotional distance from the feeling or thought itself. You can understand how kids are thinking and feeling by watching them play. Their feelings will often come out in this context- much more often than they will express themselves with their words.

All of these uses have clear therapeutic value, which is why I incorporate therapeutic play in my approach. Kids benefit from a trained professional observing their play and interacting with them through play. If you believe your child is struggling and could benefit from this kind of support, I encourage you to contact me to find out more about how I can help.

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