Seeing our children suffer or go through something that they can’t verbalize can be terrifying. They often can’t tell us what’s wrong in a way that we understand. And if they can’t tell us what’s wrong, how can we tell them how to fix it in a way they understand?
Because of the way our brains develop across the lifespan, our kids don’t have the skills and tools that we have as fully developed grown ups. Those skills and tools are learned most through experience, and kids experience life through play. Our Atlanta play therapist loves what she does. And, to help you further understand, we’ve put together some information to help you better understand play therapy.
Children Learn and Communicate Through Play
Play is our children’s natural language. If you’ve ever watched kids play together, you might notice some familiar scenes. You might see them play “house” or pretend to make a movie or have a tea party.
If you listen to their play, you might notice that your child might be acting out something that happened at home or at school. They may be changing the ending or telling their playmate how to react.
Play gives kids a chance to work through and express their internal world before they have vocabulary and insight to express it verbally. And, our Atlanta play therapist has had training and experience that gives her the great tools to be able to work with children in this way.
How Play Therapy Works
Children will often use play to act out or externalize a feeling, event, or stressor. Doing so in a safe environment with the play therapist allows your child to feel some relief of unburdening themselves. They also often work on skill or work through fears with their therapist.
Kids can practice skills like sharing, building confidence, working through anxieties, problem solving, or reducing aggression (just to name a few). The therapist is trained to respond to the play with techniques that facilitate the child’s learning and processing.
As the parent or caregiver, your involvement is essential. The play therapist will update you on your child’s progress and could potentially occasionally teach you skills or tools to use to better relate to your child and support their progress at home, depending on your child’s needs.
Occasionally, the play therapist may recommend family counseling. This is not to blame the family system, but rather to strengthen it.
Parenting is hard, and sometimes we get stuck. There is no shame in asking for help for your child and family. If you think your child is struggling, please contact an Atlanta play therapist today. We’d love to help!