Saturday, 17 January 2015

Play is great therapy!

Note: I am not a licensed therapist.  My children have never been to an actual play therapy session.  But from what I have observed through their interactions, I strongly believe that play therapy is a wonderful tool.  Do look into it and professional help if you feel it would benefit your child for any reason.

MJ's fire and rescue team in their hanger
It is no secret that my boys don't always get along.  The older one picks on the younger and teases.  The younger cries often and try's to get big brother in to trouble.  I have heard this is quite common for many families.  But the other day a miracle happened!  My boys actually played nicely together without me intervening for fights and what not.  They played for almost three hours!! This was perfect because I happened to have a wicked headache that day and needed to lay down for a bit in the afternoon.

So what happened?  Well I believe a number of factors were involved.  My boys are getting older and are able to play in a similar manner.  When they were younger. MJ was too young to keep his attention or play as imaginatively.  My boys are also home together a lot.  Being homeschooled we spend a lot of time together so we are beginning to understand each other better.  They also had a common interest.  The boys have watched Plane Fire and Rescue everyday for a week.

TJ's rescue team with signs added around the base

Their game started when MJ gathered a group of cars, trucks and planes to be the different characters from the movie.  I helped him to set up a lodge, waterfall and pretend fires.  After a little while of playing with MJ I moved on and TJ joined in.  They put out fires and fixed crashed planes for a long while.  I listened in and noticed their game had moved on from enacting the movie scenes.  Now the toys were visiting each others homes.  Some of the toys got mad at others, or were being rude.  Then apologies were made and the toys were friends again.

I saw that through play my boys were able to express feeling and emotions that they struggled with in person.  They made good compromises and were kind to one another.  Now this isn't saying that the rest of the day went perfectly... But they were able to express themselves much better through play.  I also can see that the boys can get along and play together.  Although I wasn't involved much in their game, we all were much more patient afterwards.  I think we are all realizing that we have big emotions and want to be respected.

It's funny I remember now that TJ used to respond so well to puppets when he was younger too. I wrote about that on our old blog here.

So now it's your turn.  What have you observed from your children at play??