Using Play to Navigate Seasons of Change

Using Play to Navigate Seasons of Change

Our lives are continuously changing. We shift in between seasons of life, move to a new home, change jobs, or make new and different choices regarding our health and lifestyle.

As parents, we consider how these changes, or in fact any changes, will impact our children.

We can also hold the guilt of having to make such decisions too.

The weight of such decisions can be much heavier when such decisions were forced because of circumstances or current resources, not of our own desires.

While any season of change or transition can bring about excitement and new opportunity, it also inevitably involves some aspect of loss.

And that loss can naturally bring up feelings of grief.

This is something that is true for us adults, but also for our children too.

First and foremost, it is key that we take care for ourselves. This may include leaning deeply into community. Opening ourselves up to the support of family and friends in whatever capacity that looks like for you.

On an individual level, this includes trying to make space for ritual and habits that serve our wellbeing as a time we arguably need them the most. For me, this looks like eating well, time outdoors and meditation. It could encompass many different things for different people, but I am a huge fan of simplicity; what three things can serve as your personal wellbeing ritual?
We cannot hold space for children if we cannot hold space for ourselves first.

Our children are incredibly intuitive when it comes to seeking out what they need – this includes how they use play as a pathway to emotional healing.

Laughter has been shown to improve immune function, increase pain tolerance, decrease the stress response system, reduce anxiety

Children use play to understand their experiences as well as process the emotions that arise around their unique experiences.
Here are some of my top tips for utilising the therapeutic powers of play in your season of transition:

  • Find time, at least 30 minutes once a week, to be wholeheartedly present with your child in play led by them. Allow them to choose what you play in this time and avoid temptation to lead the play in any sort of direction. Be passive in this process and if you are in doubt, clarify your role in the play with your child. “What should I do next?” or

  • If you have a specific life event occurring or about to occur, you can explore this in play with your child. Let’s take the example of starting school. You may use figurines or perhaps larger furniture items to set up a school in your home. You can then identify yourself and your child, or use figurines, to identify roles; such as teacher, parent and child. Once you have established the scene, invite your child into the play then allow them to take the lead.

This is providing children with a space symbolic to their experiences, within which they can explore relationships, problem solve, sit with feelings that may be arising and more. Symbolic play such as this is especially helpful if there is laughter – always follow the laughter and avoid trying to analyse the content of the play.

Integrating play into your parenting and educational approaches creates massive impact for both the child’s wellbeing and for the sake of a connected and cooperative relationship with children. It is something I am deeply passionate about sharing with the world – and I invite you to join us.

For more support on using play to support a child’s emotional wellbeing, including the opportunity for personal guidance, you are invited to join our FREE webinar.

On Wednesday 9/02/22 at 10am AWST, we will meet live to discuss how to use play to support the emotional wellbeing of children. Even if you cannot attend live – joining will give you access to the replay and the opportunity to have your personal questions answered.

Sign up by hitting the link below

Back to blog