Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Let's Pretend!

Every child utters these words at some point in his or her life, some more frequently than others, and some every day! Adults often wince when they hear the phrase, because pretending becomes harder as we grow older. We tend to lose the ability to let our imaginations soar, and we definitely feel more inhibited about pretending to be something we’re not.

Children, on the other hand, feel no such restraint, and it’s a good thing. In truth, when children pretend, they are not only fulfilling dreams, but also learning how to communicate, solve problems, and become more flexible human beings in pursuit of their goals. They can discover new talents, both their own and those of their playmates, and learn to express themselves in ways they may not have experienced yet. Imaginative play can give them the opportunity to imagine an uncomfortable or scary situation in a safe environment.

“Emotional intelligence” is an attribute that serves all of us well. Pretending has the potential to help expand a child’s ability to read personal cues and understand how to find a mutually beneficial path to long-term goals. Social skills are developed as imaginary roles are taken on or assigned. Sometimes they have to wait to be the princess or the monster in the story. They share knowledge of how they think the situation should play out, and learn to negotiate when necessary. All of these are beneficial skills for adults as well as children, so the next time your child wants to play pretend, do your best to indulge them!

Guest post by Bridget W.

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