Can you remember when you played peek-a-boo, cuddled and sung to your baby daily? However, as the children grow up, parents tend to do these play activities less and less.
All children (as well as adults) have a huge need to connect with their parents. They need to feel secure, feel safe to express things and be who they are.
Children communicate through their behaviour. Your child experiences just as much many emotions as any human being, big or small. But because his or her nervous system is still not yet developed, he is unable to regulate the level of stress inside. So in order to let you know how he is feeling, he has to act out either through crying or through body language, i.e. temper tantrums, hitting or biting etc.
Everyone needs to refill and recharge his or her emotional cup, yes, even adults. An emotional cup holds love, attention and connections received from people around you. When you make time for your child, pay attention and interact with them, he feels loved, valued and connected to you.
Thus, when a child’s “love cup” is nearing empty, he or she will start requesting for it to be filled through their behaviours. The best and easiest way to fill a love cup is through play.
“Play is as old as the existence of mankind. Play things were discovered in the artifacts of ancient civilization”.
Early Childhood News by Shelly Butler
Release Stress Energy
Ideally, parents would love to spend as much time as they possibly could with their children; however, in reality, it does not work that way. There are chores at home to be done, and there are careers and obligations to be fulfilled in order to support the family. There are after school activities, meals to be prepared and other commitments for extended families and friends.
Children too have emotions. They can feel scared, jealous, humiliated, fearful, anxious etc and their nervous system is not yet developed. Thus they need to find an outlet to express them; it can either be a temper-tantrum or via laughter or play. So play benefits all of your family.
To a child (as well as an adult) Play = FUN, and FUN comes about through play and laughter, which helps to release stress. Play can occur easily… even if you only have five minutes.
Through play, your children laugh, wiggle, they run… they release those emotions through laughter, through tumbling on the floor, and through running and happy screams. An example: you can chase them along, trying to catch them, but pretending to fall down so that you can’t catch them; but finally you manage to catch them, give them a big tight hug when you get hold of them, and give them 10, 20 or 30 kisses etc….until they giggle and laugh out loudly etc. This way, it helps your child to release pent up energy, anxieties and stress that he or she has been holding on to whole day.
Parents too will find that after playing with their children, they will feel more energised and relaxed. This is because the frustrations, irritations and stress energy you carry the whole day actually makes you tired and exhausted. When you play, you discharge the stress and tension energy (just like children), and so you feel less tired and more energised.
Let me know how much play time do you allocate each day, not only for yourself, but with your children.
Have a connected day with your family.