Just as our little bundle of joy begins to grow, talk and animate – pretend comes into action. When we talk about pretend play, it simply means that children, often accompanied by parents, pretend to be someone or something they are not, for the sake of play. In very simple words, acting like someone or something is pretend play. For example, when children want to pretend like their teacher at home and make you the student, try to teach you and pretty much re-enact what happened in class, it is a pretend play. Or when they pretend to be a superhero who save a baby doll from a calamity, it is pretend play. But is Pretend Play really important? If it is crucial, then why? What difference does it make in a child’s growth and development? Let’s find out in this blog.
Source: Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash.com
Pretend play has Multiple benefits
When we let our children play by pretending, parents and children, mutually learn a lot.
Children often pretend about what they have seen or heard in their day to day lives
Pretend play is often a result of what the child has seen in their day to day lives. How their teacher treats them in class? What kind of interactions they have with their friends at the park? How did Spiderman treat the villain or how Elsa likes to dress up (a reflection of their screen time)?
Their pretense and imagination can mean that you as a parent can get great insight into your child’s view of the world. By pretend play, the child may not necessarily have to narrate every incident to you (which they won’t narrate even if you stress them to). Yet, by their play, their mannerisms, and enactment of certain scenes, you can get to know how exactly they have been perceiving things around them.
Source: Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash.com
Pretend Play involves a high use of the brain, developing it manifold
As per an article in Scholastic.com, titled The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development, pretend play helps develop:
Social and Emotional Skills
By engaging in pretend play, children often engage in play which needs cooperation and involvement from more than one person. For example, if a child is playing with a baby doll, and pretends to be a mother, they often need more characters to complete their play. This requires enhanced communication and emotional skills to complete the plot.
In order to act or pretend, children would require to constantly think about expanding the situation. For example, if two children are playing doctor and patient, what happens next will have to be imagined. Whether the patient needs a bandage, or an operation (yeah we’ve all done those!) requires imagination. On the other hand, running short of players, the same child may assume the role of several patients with varying troubles, thus exercising the imagination of the child.
Source: www.Myntra.com (Barbie space & Astronaut dolls)
As children pretend, they talk and communicate a lot with other co-players, thus enhancing their communication and language skills
Thinking & Problem-Solving SKills
Pretend PLay brings about a lot of challenges for the kids. What can they pretend to make? What can look like an umbrella? How to make a rooftop? How to drape a dupatta so it looks like a saree? What characteristic will make them look like their father? How to fetch some water and snacks for the tea party? How can they do all of this and not land into trouble?
Constantly thinking and solving problems on the go is a great activity for a developing mind.
Parents’ Role in Pretend Play
As a parent, we often enjoy the pretend to play our kids devise, but sometimes it may get overboard. With the constant stimulation children receive from all parts of their life, parents cannot completely control what children see and what is their take away from the situation.
Here are certain factors parents can keep in mind in order to encourage Healthy pretend play in children:
The corner of your eye
There is no better use of the ‘corner of the eye’ sight than to use it for parenting. Pretend play or otherwise, It is great to leave kids to play by themselves, but it is essential to keep a monitoring eye on them. To always keep a watch from the corner of your eye is nothing but ideal!
Join in as often as possible
Undoubtedly, more than their siblings and friends, children love to interact and play with their parents. Join in as often as you can. Give wings to their imagination by improvising their ideas. Keep them a great company and it would encourage them to play.
Give them wings
When their imagination takes flight, give them the wings of added toys. Let them have more dolls and teddy bears as characters or Cardboard Boxes To Make Their Home. Let Them Use Their Toy Vehicles As Actual Rides. You can also buy pretend play sets like the kitchen, doctor tools, mechanic tools, and even their superhero outfits (even with a mask and a cape if they want!)
Being a parent is a delight (well, in most parts!) Just as the right values are important, so are the right kind of play to encourage proper growth and stimulation of the child.