Have you ever considered how play affects your child? While the play is a great way to keep kids busy, it’s much more than that. Play can help reduce stress, overcome fear, and even makes kids happier. As a parent, you can help your child by simply allowing her to play. Let’s take a closer look at how the play affects a toddler’s mood.
Play Reduces Stress
Play is a wonderful way to help toddlers reduce stress. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing with the toys at the doctor’s office or playing to overcome frustration, your toddler can beat stress through play. Think of it as your child’s way to unwind. In all honestly, play can help both toddlers and parents overcome a stressful day.
Just several days ago, we visited the doctor’s office. I took my daughter and was well prepared on waiting. After all, it rarely happens (maybe once in 20 visits) that we wait shorter than 1,5 hours! And for months and years, I fought this. And then decided to step back and stop. So, as we entered the doc’s office, it was crowded, as anticipated. My daughter took with herself only one of her plush toys from some of her list of favorite waiting room toys. We sat and played with that one toy for almost 2 hours until it was time to actually move from waiting room to an exam room. As a result, my daughter was relaxed and more willing to engage with her doctor.
Why I’m telling this little story? While we waited, I also observed other parents and their kids. Not all of them, but the big majority was simply consumed with stress because they had to spend their time waiting. And it transferred to their kids who were running around, yelling, crying and throwing tantrums. I understood how they felt. But it would be so much easier for both them and their kids if they would just relax and use this waiting time for bonding with their kids.
Helps Children Overcome Fear or Anxiety
While a comforting hug is soothing to a scared toddler, play can help your child overcome fear by refocusing his thoughts. For example, playing with a pillow that’s shaped like a stuffed animal while falling asleep can help kids overcome the fear of monsters under the bed. Playing with blocks is also a great way to refocus the mind when a scary thunderstorm pops up. Truthfully, my kids have a little zoo of plush animals on their beds. They play with them shortly each night before falling asleep. It helps create a good closure for a day.
Takes the Mind Off Sadness
Whenever your toddler is sad, break out fun games to play. For example, if your child gets sad when it’s time for daddy to head to work, grab a fun game you can play together. This will take your child’s mind off whatever is causing her sadness. Another thing that works is hugging, snuggling and playing silly. At least for us! Give it a go!
Makes Kids Happier
Plain and simple. Playing makes kids happier. Remember the simple joy you had when you were playing with your favorite toys as a child? Even today there are things you “play” with that bring you happiness. It might be the new mixer you just bought or the nail art you love to apply. We all love to play and it’s a natural mood booster.
Gives Kids Something to Focus On
Last, but not least, no matter what the situation, playing gives your child something to focus on. This can always improve your toddler’s mood. For example, having a play pack for your child to choose toys from on a road trip can take his mind off the boredom.
Many parents have the misconception that play is just a great way to keep kids busy. The truth is: play is so much more. Play even affect’s a toddler’s mood making her happier, helping help overcome fear, and much more.