Hello Redbud families!
1). A Redbud favorite, “Old MacDonald”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
3). And here’s one where I sing “Happy Birthday” to Eleanor; invite your Redbud to sing along!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Pretend Play and Big Feelings
Today, I want to share a thought about pretend or symbolic play. We are experiencing a challenging time when both adults and children may be feeling strong emotions. Though talking about feelings is so important, it can also sometimes feel like an extra challenge for toddlers, who are just beginning to put words to their big feelings and who have not yet developed the ability to relate to experiences on a conceptual level. When children are showing us through their behaviors that things are difficult for them, it may help to look for opportunities to provide a safe framework through play where children can both express feelings and work to understand the changes they are experiencing.
As an example, in the beginning of the school year when children are doing the emotional work of separating from families, the Redbud teachers often offer a lot of ways for children to playfully explore separation and reunion. Of course, none of these take the place of cuddling and rocking and reassuring – but learning through play and through relationships goes hand in hand. Hiding and finding toy animals, peek-a-boo play, and pretend play about “going on a trip” and coming home again are just a few of the play experiences that reinforce the idea that we come back together with the people we love. (A reminder we all might need right now.)
I’d imagine many kiddos are feeling uncertainty that may be expressing itself as an extra need to be cared for or as a burst of power and independence – possibly both. If you are seeing your child express that in their behavior, it may be helpful to think about a pretend play scenario that offers your child a chance to meet that need. A kid who is being extra clingy might love to be a baby bird and snuggle with you in a nest of pillows. A child who is saying no to everything might relish a few minutes pretending to be a dino stomping and roaring in the yard. Offering ways for children to tap into feelings through play themes can act as a release by giving children permission to express feelings.
I want to add that children’s pretend play can occasionally be challenging for us as adults, especially if kids are acting out events or situations that are also stressful for us. It may be helpful to notice where our triggers are, and avoid a play scenario that hits too close to home. For example, a child might have questions about illness, but it may not be helpful right now to “play hospital” if that’s upsetting to adults or siblings in the family.
I hope this is helpful; if anyone wants to talk more about what is going on for your child right now, feel free to get in touch. I am always so impressed by the thoughtful parenting I witness in the CCS community – you all make a difference every day! Well wishes!