Spending Time and Pretend Play with Kids
As parents and caregivers, we especially do not need to be experts when we engage in pretend play with our children, because we can imagine anything we need! Instead of calling the time with kids ‘spending’, it should be ‘investing’. We all have the skills to be able to invest and the returns are so enriching.
Kids love to play super hero. Super heroes can do anything and go anywhere. P and her son often play super heroes on Saturday morning when she is not at work. G and his daughter share a special interest in Spiderman. Being able to rescue someone and solve problems by being brave and fearless is more than a game. It’s something we all strive for, no matter our age.
Grownups don’t need to be clowns with costumes and make-up to play dress-up with kids. Grandpa G sat on a chair and wore a princess crown given to him by his granddaughter. When he was babysitting, Grandpa D didn’t mind being another pirate with a hat and eye-patch. R and her girls imagine dragons can make horns out of paper tubes.
Stuffed animals can be recruited to play going to the vet’s office or dolls can have a turn seeing the doctor. These are imaginative scenarios that help a child understand how people function and interact. Just ask Momma K who played going to the doctor many times after Little M broke her arm.
Children will spend (invest) a good portion of their time in pretend play. They do not need us there all the time, and they should have time to play independently. But we can encourage and support imaginative play by playing with them and not letting worries about not being good enough interfere. After all, doesn’t imagination have no limits? What do you and your child like to imagine?
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