Parenting Child's Play
At every stage of development, the way in which parents are engaged in a child’s play reinforces, positively and negatively, the child’s sense of self. Jean Piaget, the great Swiss Psychologist, described “Child’s play as the road to the child’s unconscious.” Child’s play is a pathway to help us learn and understand how the child feels, thinks and fantasizes. Whether it be the toddlers or young child’s symbolic play of doll house and army or an older child’s game of ‘hide and go seek’, the level and intensity of the parent’s interest and engagement becomes a key factor in how the child perceives himself and views the world.
- Try to remember what it was like when you wanted your mom or dad to play with you! How responsive is a parent on the phone or reading a newspaper? How did it feel when your parents attended your class play or missed your basketball game? Use these memories as signposts on how you want to be perceived as a parent by your child.
- Attend to, fully acknowledge, and appreciate your child’s play. Then, let your parenting style be a genuine guide that communicates value in your child’s play.