PLAY gives children the tools they need to navigate in and through the world. During PLAY, children develop the capability and creativity they’ll need when they become adults. It’s been said,
PLAY is a dress rehearsal LIFE!
PLAY also is about the here and now. PLAY addresses all developmental areas for a child—physical, social, emotional and cognitive. When children PLAY they construct a framework to deal with change, stress and conflict—in other words, to be able to problem-solve and adapt. From PLAY, they:
• become flexible thinkers;
• have better social skills;
• and higher self-esteem.
PLAY’s impact on self-esteem and developing positive social skills has another, protective benefit. It reduces the risk of sexual abuse.
The topic of abuse is, admittedly, a disturbing and unsettling one to think about in relation to your child. However,
———————————– ——-90% of children that are sexually abused KNOW their abuser
Read that again and let it sink in.
Though every parent warns their child to be wary of strangers, abusers are neighbors, friends—even family members. Abusers shouldn’t be thought of as just lurking in the dark; they are found where children are:
•sports organizations, and
Another sobering statistic: 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. And while both boys and girls are sexually abused, girls are more likely to be victimized.
——————————-You can use PLAY to develop the skills your child needs!
I consider singing musical PLAY. One of the songs at preschool, My Body Belongs to Me in Tickle Tune Typhoon’s All of Us Will Shine CD, introduced the concept of body ownership and personal safety. It’s an upbeat song that makes a kiddo feel empowered! When children know what to do in a situation, they can ACT! Giving kidlets the words they needed, to help them find their voice, was important at preschool—especially for those little ones who were more reserved. Singing this song fulfilled that too—standing tall, hands on hips and putting a hand out while belting out: “No!” Following-up with a short discussion on No means No by reinforcing when someone says “no” you need to listen.
PLAY inherently develops a kidlet’s self-esteem because they are given opportunities to make choices. Practicing decision-making by making selections—and seeing the results…in an inconsequential setting—is good for children. NOTE: Failure in PLAY helps children see they can pick themselves up and try again—it teaches resilience! Making age-appropriate decisions gives them a feeling of control and power. Set up as many options for them to choose as possible! For example:
•Let them pick what color paper or paint they want to use;
•Would they prefer an apple or orange for snack?
•Do they want to listen to an audiobook or use flannel pieces to tell YOU a story?
Besides giving children all kinds of options to make decisions, PLAY also provides problem-solving opportunities!
•Where to place the block on top of the stack so the whole thing stays up?
•What can be used for the baby doll’s bed?
•How to rearrange the puzzle pieces so they are in the correct orientation?
PLAY provides age-appropriate challenges allowing kiddos to master tasks—even overcoming frustrations—to develop feelings of confidence and competence.
PLAY also develops children’s social skills. Learning how to make and be friends; to cooperate and get along; to collaborate and work together require interpersonal and communication skills. The better adept a child is in their social skills the more likely they’ll form healthy, positive relationships with their peers.
———– ——-Good peer-relationships is considered another protective factor against abuse.
Sexual abuse is something that happens…too frequently. PLAY helps kidlets develop the tools they need—positive social skills and a healthy, positive self-esteem. The tools created through PLAY will manifest in a protective shield your child can use to guard against abuse.
Yours in Play!