When it comes to playing with your child and introducing learning during play, you may see yourself as his/her learning coach. With conscious guidance, children can learn naming numbers, letters, shapes, or colours, problem solving skills to social emotional skills. While this is not wrong, there's an even better way to do it!
A child-led play is more beneficial for your child.
By taking a 'backseat' in this play, your child is given the space to express him/herself and strengthen his/her language and social development. It also helps to build a sense of self-direction and self-confidence.
Here's a breakdown to guide you through this new approach to playing:
- Sit down beside your child
- Let your child choose what to play and how to play
- Describe out loud what the child is doing with his/her toys
- Identify out loud any feelings that come up for the child or with the toys. These actions help to add new vocabularies and understanding of things for your child.
- And of course, join in the fun when your child invites you!
Depending on your child's age and needs, you can facilitate your child's play or learning session by asking open-ended and thought-provoking questions like:
- What do you think would happen if you...?
- What's the difference between (this) and (that)
Always start the questions with "what" and avoid questions with " do you think" or "I wonder", so your child can be more empowered with her decisions!
Nevertheless, make sure to strike the balance of asking questions. Too many questions can be intimidating to your child.
Last but not least, remember what you should avoid doing!
- Give commands or direct your child's play, e.g. 'Don't do this.' 'Let's play this toy.'
- Direct your children during play or demonstrate how your child should be playing any game.
- Compete with your child and get into winning and losing.
Remember that this is child-led play where you are following the lead of your child!
KidzMatters is an online resource on all matters regarding parents and infants to 6-year-olds. Subscribe to KidzMatters for more news, tips, updates and activities!
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