Recent research has indicated that when children engage in pretend or imaginary play, the outcome is improved cognitive, social, and emotional development. Fantastical, or fantasy, play is often used interchangeably in the literature with pretend or imaginary play.
Empathy is the ability to understand others’ feelings and perspectives. It is important because it helps us respond appropriately to and build social connections with others. Empathy is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and developed. But to learn about empathy, you first need to be shown empathy from others. That is why it is so important for parents to show empathy to their children on a regular and consistent basis. Showing empathy to your child is also important in order to develop a strong and healthy parent-child relationship.
In previous blogs, I have spoken about the two roles, either Directive or Nondirective, that parents could take on during playtime with their children … Neither of these two roles is better or worse than the other. Sometimes it is helpful for you to be in a Nondirective Role, allowing your child to make choices and decisions that are accepted by you, and sometimes it is helpful for you to be in a Directive Role, structuring the play activity to engage your child in some manner … Let’s have a closer look at the two roles that I have identified for parents during parent-child playtime.
Adults often feel uncomfortable engaging with children in imaginary or pretend play. Maybe we have forgotten how to play make-believe. Or, we may feel silly or immature if we get involved in imaginary play. We may even be laughed at by others when we play this way! This is unfortunate because playing together in an imaginary, pretend, or make-believe way raises the parent-child relationship to a whole new level of connection and positivity.
Children experience various states of fear and anxiety from the moment they are born. Sometimes it is easy to tell if a child is anxious by their crying and clinging behaviors. But sometimes, it is difficult to identify anxiety in children and may be overlooked. Some children hide their anxiety because it is too difficult for them to express it to others. Some children turn their anxiety into angry tantrums or defiant behaviors … Anxious children can benefit a great deal by support from their parents.