“Play is a child’s job.”

By: Geri Smiles

During these unusual times, it’s easy to let go of routines that add structure to children’s days. Children thrive on routines. A structured plan for the day is important for them at this time of turmoil. Young children need that consistency and knowledge of what will come next to stay calm and in control. Try to have a morning routine that they can anticipate and feel comfortable with every day. Since they are usually in school, try to plan their ”connected learning” for the morning with their teachers. Most schools, if not all, are offering Zoom calls with their students. The children get to see and hear their friends and teachers and have the chance to participate in normal everyday activities that they have become used to at school. Feel free to construct a daily schedule for your child. Include pictures and words so they can actually see the “routine” of the day.

It’s important to keep in mind that a child’s job is to play. Don’t get stressed or feel guilty for not playing with your child because you have to work from home. Play allows children to construct their own worlds and inhabit them, play out themes that are troubling them, seize control and emotionally process what is going on. Children have varying attention spans so if it’s natural to observe them going from one activity to another. If you are trying to read a story to them and they are having difficulty sitting still, get them up and moving around. That physical activity will reset their brains so they may return to focusing. Reading together daily is a great time to build a loving bond with your child and make memories.

Play provides so many benefits to the brain and body and is so important for children of all ages. Some of these, in addition to the ones noted in the beginning, are:

Joy and fun Self-expression

Curiosity and exploration Use of imagination

Active engagement Accomplishment and confidence

Problem solving Communication

Collaboration and kindness Motor skills (fine and gross)

A poem that best describes the importance of play is written by Anita Wadley. I have attached it and would like to share it with you. Enjoy

Just Playing Anita Wadley Schlaht

When I’m building in the block room,
Please don’t say I’m “Just playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play,
About balance, I may be an architect someday.

When I’m getting all dressed up,
Setting the table, caring for the babies,
Don’t get the idea I’m “Just Playing.”
I may be a mother or a father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint,
Or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay,
Please don’t let me hear you say, “He is Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I just might be a teacher someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some “playing” at my school,
Please don’t feel the time is wasted in “play.”
For you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to solve problems and concentrate.
I may be in business someday.

When you see me cooking or tasting foods,
Please don’t think that because I enjoy it, it is “Just Play.”
I’m learning to follow directions and see the differences.
I may be a cook someday.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run, and move my body,
Please don’t say I’m “Just Playing.”
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning how my body works.
I may be a doctor, nurse, or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I’ve done at school today,
And I say, “I just played.”
Please don’t misunderstand me.
For, you see, I’m learning as I play.
I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work.
I’m preparing for tomorrow.
Today, I am a child and my work is play.

Keep playing!!!!

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