Playtime is one of the most important experiences to see curiosity, natural motivation, and interest in your child. It is an opportunity to step into their world and try to experience play through their eyes.
Have you ever noticed your child recreating the rules of a game? Or asking you to play monopoly, but suddenly you realize that you are taking a ride around the board with no dice? Perhaps you are playing a card game like go fish and your child wants you to pick 15 cards to start the game and instead of saying go fish – she wants to say Go Monkey?
If you listen closely, you will hear the amazing imagination that is at work inside of our children. Perhaps our first instinct is to correct them so that they learn the “proper” ways to play the “game;” however, from a child’s point of view, this is their game so who is to say what is proper or improper. When we follow their lead, their imagination flourishes. When we allow them to navigate the game, in whatever way they choose, we are empowering them to lead us.
Play and imagination are crucial to the development of our children. Many times, this is diminished in their lives because either there is not enough down time for them to create or go outside in nature and use their imagination, or imagination is shut down. If our kids are overscheduled, their imagination could potentially suffer. We all need downtime.
When given the opportunity, our children have incredible imaginations. I can remember wanting to control the rules of a particular game when my kids were young, thinking this is not how it is played. I then realized or asked, why does it matter? This is where real empowerment exists. We need to allow our children to lead us.
How much control do our children really have in life? When we offer the platform of play with autonomy and leadership, it lights them up, empowers them and makes them feel good about themselves, in turn, building self-esteem and confidence.