The importance of play cannot be underestimated. Natural and spontaneous play with parents and friends is crucial for a child's development. Through play, your child will enhance his or her social interactions and start to develop recognition of their individual strengths.
Play provides endless scope for a child to make sense of their world, to consolidate new learning and to try out different perspectives. In their imaginary worlds, children get to make the decisions that count, and explore the consequences of different actions.
Play also provides a vital opportunity for children to process past events and to cope with current concerns. A child who is nervous about a visit to the hospital, for example, might use dolls or toys to act out this scenario.
Using play to prepare for difficult situations...
In pretend or role play, follow your child’s lead. Let them develop the narrative and play along. After the play has finished, you can ask questions about the characters and the events that took place.
Puppets or play objects can be used to help a child to prepare for a real life event or to manage a difficult situation. The child can use the puppets or objects to relate their concerns. You can then use the same puppets/objects to empathise with their worries and where appropriate, you can work together to rehearse ways of coping with the situation.