Powered by the Simple Podcast Press Player

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 13

Nurturing Emotionally Healthy Kids through Play with Debra Wessleman, MS, LIMHP

In This Episode:

Debra Wesselmann, the author of Integrative Parenting: Strategies for Raising Children Affected by Attachment Trauma, gives us 6 tips to help nurture our children’s emotional health through play.

  1. Stay Attuned By Staying Present – Put away the electronics and truly connect with your child through play.
  2. Stay Attuned By Letting Your Child Take The Lead – Let your child choose what and how to play.  This helps support your child’s feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy.  It also strengthens relationships.
  3. Be Aware That Your Child’s Play Activities May Not Match His Or Her Chronological Age – Meet your child where he is at.  Resist the urge to influence him to play with games and toys that you consider to be appropriate for his age.  For example, an adolescent may like to play with dolls and that is okay.
  4. Keep It Fun By Finding Ways To Play That You Both Enjoy – It’s important that  you are able to play with the child and enjoy playing too.  Have materials and activities available to choose from that you like.  It enhances the experience.
  5. Playtime Is Not Teaching Time – It’s tempting sometimes to double up playtime as teaching time.  Teaching during this time can diminish some of the benefits from free play.  Resist the urge to make statements such as “how many blocks are there”, “what color is the barn”, and such.  Just simply enjoy the play for what it is, that’s where the beauty of its benefits can flourish.
  6. If You Observe Your Child Reenacting Traumatic Experiences In Play, Communicate With Your Team – If your child has a therapeutic team be sure to share observations that relate to playing out any trauma with them.  They can help him process through it in a healthy supported way.