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Archive for June, 2009

Child’s Play in a Grown-up World

Child’s Play in a Grown-up World

by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D.


Find ways to involve your children in the richness of your ‘grown-up’ life.  Be creative and patient because the results are worth your effort!


For young children, play is a lot more than entertainment. It is central to their development.  A wonderful way to play with and teach children is to bring them into your world, where ‘real-life’ happens.  Children love to do ‘grown-up’ things and to imitate you.  And when they contribute, they see themselves as players and get a well-earned self-esteem boost!


Children also learn about important values and concepts from watching you.  They see the result of practice and perseverance, and they come to know that learning is a lifelong process. They see that everyone, even a grown-up, can make mistakes and can learn from them.


There are two easy and enjoyable ways for your children to play in the grown-up world: you can let them help with your chores and you can include them in your favorite pastimes.


Work as play:  Include your children in your household routine.  There are countless safe ways for children to help with meals, laundry, shopping or cleaning.  They can help mix recipe ingredients, pick fruit at the grocery store, water the garden or pack their lunch.  These activities are fun learning experiences, especially if you are teaching informally along the way.  The chores may take a little longer as they learn the ropes, make mistakes, and work at a snail’s pace, but the value for their learning and their self-regard are more than worth the extra time.


Hobbies and pastimes:  Share your interests with your children.  This is one of the most intriguing, emotionally rich forms of learning that children can receive.  Teach your children about your avocations, and keep up with your piano, chess, painting, hiking or gardening.   Your enthusiasm for your hobbies will be infectious and offer many ways for your children to learn and develop skills.


Kyle D. Pruett, M.D., is an advisor for The Goddard School®.  Dr. Pruett is an authority on child development who has been practicing child and family psychiatry for over twenty-five years.  He is a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University’s Child Study Center.