Child-Led Play

While asking your child questions & encouraging thought has some benefits, it can be more damaging to not then balance these interactions with time to follow your child's lead. Giving them the space to just simply be themselves, naturally flowing and progressing through play.

Situationally, imagine your child enters a play room and grabs their toy elephant. Rather than making suggestions such as "what does an elephant say?" or "is the elephant big/small, hungry/full, tired/excited" you simply watch. You offer yourself as a playing companion by being present, and you allow the child to create whatever game or action they see fit for the elephant.

This doesn't mean that you never suggest that the elephant trumpets with it's trunk, or that he stomps when he walks. It means that each and every day you offer opportunities to be both the teacher, and the student.

Balance is everything here.

The process of child-led play is simply encouraging your child's self-awareness, creative growth and personal exploration in the world. This will secure confidence in themselves and their choices.

Once we take parenting as an equal opportunity to teach and learn, we connect with our child on a deeper level. Using an equal playing field we cultivate strength and acceptance within ourselves and them.

If we are always suggesting ways to use and play with the objects around us, it makes it very hard for a child to trust their own assumptions and intuition. It teaches them to first need mommy or daddy's guided direction, before doing.

This negative affect of always directing a child's play may not show up in the moment, or even in that day but we can see it as they grow and we begin to expect them to do things for themselves.

It shows up when a child tries to put their shoes on and gives up within seconds asking you to do it for them, while overwhelmed with intense emotion.

It shows up when they do not feel comfortable playing alone or even a few feet away from you, needing you to constantly engage and direct them to feel secure.

Our children are one of the best ways to refresh our own perspectives in the world and once we see parenting as an opportunity to grow alongside our child, only then will we start to truly benefit from this magnificent role of being a parent.

One of my personal teachers, Dr. Shefali Tsabary put it so simply below.

Show love, grow love Happy Living