Play is the work of children. This is how they learn and discover the world around them. One of the most important things a parent can do for their child is to play with them. But, let’s get real. When was the last time you played like a child? I remember in college when I took a part-time job working with a two year old boy with Autism. I would do therapy 45 minutes out of every hour with the last 15 minutes reserved for play. These were the longest minutes of the hour. I had not “played” like a child in so long that I had forgotten how to play. Fortunately, it’s kind of like riding a bicycle, you never really forget (even if you start out a little rusty). So where should you start? Start by just sitting with your child and watching what he or she does. When you are ready, join your child and imitate what they do. They will let you know what they have an interest in. Follow their lead! When you feel more comfortable, start adding in your own variations in play.
In a few minutes, your child may move on to something else. Don’t give up! Join their play again. Don’t be afraid to be silly. In fact, the sillier the better! Your child will not judge you for being silly, they will love you for it. Sing songs, pretend to be animals, and take turns. Remember, your child is learning to play, too! Make sure to talk with your child about what you are doing. This will help support language development. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun!
Upcoming events for Children with Special needs and their families:
September 11th-“Bounce Night” at KD Kidz World from 6-8 pm. This free event is for children with special needs and their families. Come join the Parent Education –Infant Development program for pizza and fun. This event is sponsored by the Anne Felder Fund through the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region.
September 26th-“Special Night for Special Needs” at the Children’s Museum of Richmond’s Fredericksburg location from 5:30 to 7 pm. Admission is free for children with special needs and their families.
Remember to consider what works best for you and your child! No one type play activity will be a good fit your every family. Your play and interactions should fit your needs and comfort level! If your child is having difficulty participating in play activities or you have concerns about his or her development, we can help! Remember, Babies Can’t Wait! Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB: http://www.racsb.state.va.us/