Written by Alice Hamrick
How Can I Support My Child’s Emotions?
Think about how you have been feeling the last few weeks, your child is feeling all of those emotions too. Here is the big difference, they may not understand the emotion, or why they are feeling the emotion like you can as an adult. You child is grieving the loss of their old life and routine, they are feeling the uncertainty of what we are going through. They will act out, they will be whiny, they will struggle with their emotion (just like us).
Children express and communicate themselves through play. Playing is the powerful medium in which we are able to connect to a child’s inner world. The best way for parents to support their children during a crisis is to create a space for children to work through the crisis. Parent-child play is very beneficial because parents offer a more nurturing form of play and can expand their child’s imagination. The increase in nurture and imagination support the child’s ability to freely express themselves through play.
You can help your child cope with play!
Here are some ways to help your child express their emotions with play
1) Start a daily routine of play, explain to your child that this is a special play time where they get to choose what you do together (safety boundaries still exist).
2) Create a structured area where the child can play with their toys. Encourage the child to freely choose anything they want to play with.
3) Let your child choose the play, they make and break the rules, they can call a chicken a duck, they can make up any story. Follow their lead- do not redirect or ask “why?”
4) Provide reflective commentary- as the child is playing, comment on what the child is doing or feeling. (i.e.- “I see your big smile when you throw the ball in the air”).
5) Imaginary play- follow the child’s lead and play along as he/she engages imaginatively.
6) Boundary setting- Parents should provide rules and limits to ensure safety. Parents should step in if a child is acting unsafe or destroying toys.
If you want more feedback, or you are concerned about how you child plays, let’s talk! We can give you tips in this play, and we can provide a playful assessment.
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Helping your child cope with play!
Johns Creek and Alpharetta Counseling (#JCAC) is a warm and family orientated counseling practice in Alpharetta, Ga. We offer online counseling services in the states of Georgia and Florida. We offer in-office counseling service at our Alpharetta office which is conveniently located to serve Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell, and Cumming, Ga.
The JCAC Counselors specialize in counseling services throughout the lifespan! We offer play therapy, counseling for children, parental support, adolescent counseling, mental health services, couples counseling, premarital therapy, and individual counseling for adults.
To learn more about our practice, click here!
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