I play – do you?
I love to play, any kind of play. Sometimes it’s hard to get my work done because I in fact tend to prioritise play. Maybe that’s why I love working with young clients – I can play and work at the same time! And I suppose that’s why I can make a game out of a tooth pick and a paperclip that are lying around on my desk when I’m in a long online meeting.
I used to think I didn’t have my priorities straight; that I had a problem with focusing; which resulted in not feeling very good about myself.
Then I learned about self compassion and was able to accept that, well, I liked to play. And now, I see that it’s even better than that – my best ideas come when I am playing – not when I’m concentrating, focusing, and working.
We assess children’s neuro-developmental needs and recommend (among other things) movements, activities, and games that will support the development of their neuro-pathways. That’s the fancy way of saying we introduce specific ways for kids to move, to use their bodies, to play. I often see mums struggling with how they will get their child do do an activity we recommend. And indeed, when we come from our adult teacher, have-to, logic mind, children aren’t always game to join in. When we are willing to join in the activity in the spirit of play, exploration, and experimentation for our own benefit; when we are an equal player in the game; when we allow ourselves to have fun for our own sake, even be goofy (not with the intention of being motivating, but rather for our own enjoyment) the picture changes. We are now speaking our child’s language. We are not just joining them, we are exploring, engaging, and experiencing together. But it’s much bigger than that. By getting into the play ourselves, we are no longer delivering an activity to someone else in hopes that they will learn. We are all learning through the play. And the best part is, going into it we have no idea what we or our child will be learning!
“Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.” – Jean Piaget
Play isn’t just for kids. Play isn’t just something that develops kids minds so they can then work. Play is a crucial lifelong activity for all of us. But don’t just take my word for it; read this article, watch these Ted Talks!!
Enjoy, Mary E. Robson © 2017