EPIC Blog: The Importance of Play - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: The Importance of Play

September 30th, 2022 l Author: Meiby Nodarse, M.H.C, M.F.T (edited by Michele Rogan)

As adults, it’s easy for us to express needs, desires, or thoughts. We can simply vocalize when we are angry or frustrated, or actively make changes to fix our circumstance. We can make a meal when we are hungry or journal when we are anxious, but the same is not true for young children. Depending on their developmental age, sometimes their vocabulary is limited or they aren’t certain what it means to have feelings such as discouragement or disappointment. In order to be better understood, children can use what is available to them, which many times turns out to be play. Specifically, for children who have been through trauma, play can be very important as a means of expression.


Playing Allows Children to Express Imagination and Release Emotions

Here are a few actions with toys that can be a form of communication: yelling at a doll, throwing a ball very hard, burying a precious object, wanting to change the rules of a game, or controlling the moves of each player in a game. As a parent, it’s important to allow your child to freely play with their imagination and express themselves as they may feel too overwhelmed to release their emotions in another form. During play, fully allow them to immerse themselves without the distraction of reality, so they can process a hard day at school or a traumatic experience.

Learning through play has also proven to be more effective than learning without play! Hand-eye coordination, cognitive skills, and curiosity is refined in many forms of games and early childhood toys. TBRI, Trust Based Relational Intervention, defines play as the language of safety. Getting on your child’s level to play with them, or allowing them to fully experience the benefits that come from play can help your child grow their critical development in an easy and fun setting, whether they are toddlers or teens!

Although we as adults may see play as just a way for children to have fun, the benefits go so much deeper. Expression and development are often the results of play, so next time your child asks to play, remember how important these moments are and let them explore.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” – Matthew 19:14