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Pretending . . .

Pretend play can be powerful because reality can be suspended. By suspending reality, children can level the playing field and even feel that they have the advantage. After all, though children can be very wise and insightful at times, there are some real frustrations that go along with being a child, namely being younger, smaller, …Continue reading

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Play and anxiety . . .

Challenges are typically preceded by feelings of anxiety. If anxious feelings are managed well, then anxiety can serve as a useful emotion because mastering age-appropriate anxiety and its accompanying challenges is an incentive for learning new skills. Mastering age-appropriate anxiety is possible when a child’s abilities are put to the test without the child feeling …Continue reading

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Downtime . . .

Downtime is important for the healthy growth and development of your child. Your child’s brain needs breaks in order to process the incoming flood of new information. Being idle allows the brain to take what it already knows and then think, reflect, and change. Idle time allows the circuitry to develop. Unstructured free time is …Continue reading

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Storytelling . . .

Telling stories is one playful way to help children address important themes in their lives, particularly those that children might prefer not to talk about. Discharging powerful feelings connected to memories and experiences is important, though, so residual feelings are not left to bubble up later in life. Stress over family changes and other fears …Continue reading

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Transformation and play . . .

When kids play, they are not just having fun. Play allows kids to try out new ways of being, behaving, thinking, and feeling. When kids play, they are allowed to break out of established patterns and experiment with being a new self with new ways of interacting with the world. Even as adults, it is …Continue reading

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Responsible little people . . .

How can we help our children develop a sense of responsibility? Let’s consider some of the possibilities. First, children need to experience their own feelings. We want to protect our children, yet we cannot shield them from all of life’s experiences and the emotions that go along with them, so keep them safe but allow …Continue reading

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Disagreements . . .

Disagreements are merely differences of opinion. Since disagreements are unavoidable, the real key to disagreeing is doing it in a way that respects the parties involved. Kids need to learn how to respectfully disagree, and parents have an opportunity to teach this lesson. Here are a few suggestions: Listen to your child calmly and carefully …Continue reading

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Physical play . . .

Adults can easily forget that kids learn a lot through physical play. Physical play might involve roughhousing, wrestling, climbing, swinging, and running around. All children need this kind of play, and participating in it is one of the ways kids can learn to solve problems. Take self-soothing as an example. When children have a hard …Continue reading

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Listening . . .

A nurturing relationship involves open, honest communication, and that kind of communication involves listening as well as talking. We need to listen to our children. When we listen, really listen, we show our children that we respect them and that we care about their thoughts and feelings. By carefully listening, we “tell” them that they …Continue reading

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Listening . . .

A nurturing relationship involves open, honest communication, and that kind of communication involves listening as well as talking. We need to listen to our children. When we listen, really listen, we show our children that we respect them and that we care about their thoughts and feelings. By carefully listening, we “tell” them that they …Continue reading

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