EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND THE MAGIC OF PLAY
Your 3-year-old may now ride a winged unicorn as the ruler of a wonderful universe, thanks to a frilly outfit, tiara, and magic wand. Taste the pink clouds, and you’ll probably agree that they taste a lot like bubblegum.
Putting a sheet over his shoulders, your 4-year-old sprints across the lawn as fast as he can. To safeguard the backyard from dragons hidden in the bushes and unearth treasure buried in the sandbox, he is on a heroic mission as a superhero
For parents of young children, they have a front-row seat to some of the most inventive theater ever created. These are the “magic years,” when children dream big and don’t question whether or not their fantasies are possible.
These magical years can only be fostered if you encourage your child’s use of imagination.
Preschoolers’ Perspectives on the Universe
Young youngsters aren’t able to comprehend much of what’s going on in the world around them. To make up for this, they often “fill in the blanks” by inventing fantastical explanations of how things function.
Selma Fraiberg, a child development expert, coined the phrase “the magic years” to describe this period, which occurs during the preschool years.
It is through their five senses that babies learn about the world around them: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. A child’s understanding of how things work grows as they mature.
Using this knowledge and their burgeoning imaginations, toddlers come up with imaginative explanations for why and how things happen.
As well as allowing for role-playing and creative problem-solving, pretend play is a great way for children to discover their own potential as superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs, wild animals, and even parents. Another challenge that preschoolers face is dealing with strong feelings. Babies may be punished and reprimanded for behaviors that seem eerily similar to those of your own child. Children who have had an episode of losing control, such as punching a playmate, may turn to creating an imaginary friend (who is far more destructive than your child) to help them cope with their emotions of shame and guilt.
Self-control is a difficult skill to master, and pretend play is a great way for children to exercise and express their anger.
Do You Know How to Inspire Imagination?
It all begins with a child’s imagination. However, this does not rule out the participation of parents. Here are a few ideas for fostering your child’s fantasy world:
Accept it as it is. Don’t tell kids who tell you they’re flying when they take off and fly through the air. As an alternative, feed your imagination: “You’re so high up! On the ground, what can you make out? Take a nap on that fluffy cloud, if you like.” Start flying with them, or even better, join them.
Toys from another era should be preferred. Toys that demand creativity and imagination, such as building blocks, dolls, arts and crafts, and shaping clay, are common.
Limit the use of electronic gadgets. Even if it’s a “junior” laptop or a mobile entertainment system, avoid toys that require batteries. A child’s imagination is stunted when a toy takes control of the game.
Motivate your child to read to him or her as a parent. “What would you eat if you were a caterpillar?” is a good question to ask yourself while reading. What are your predictions for the story’s next turn? In addition to encouraging imagination, this enhances language abilities and encourages an interest in reading.
Plan out your downtime. Make sure your children have time to play on their own every day. It also teaches kids how to entertain or soothe themselves using their own resources.
Limit your screen time. When children watch a movie or even an instructional program, they don’t have to use their own imaginations because they’re experiencing someone else’s make-believe world. Because they can’t distinguish the difference between commercials and actual programming, young children are particularly vulnerable to the advertising message. Digital adverts in online games and apps are the same. For children aged 2 to 5, no more than one hour of high-quality programming per day should be allowed on screens (including TV, DVDs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets). Take time to watch with your youngster when he or she is using a screen.
When the Mysticism Fades
Princess tiaras will fade into obscurity and your children will no longer imagine that they can fly. An emotional roller coaster is taking place right now. You won’t get a chance to see the globe where anything is possible if you don’t go. However, it’s a sign that your youngster is maturing in some way.
High-level thinking can now be performed via connecting the brain’s prefrontal cortex to other parts of the brain. As a result, the way a youngster imagined the world to work is no longer necessarily the case.
Vacuum cleaners are an example of this. Fear might grip a 2-year-old like the dog hair that was sucked up from the carpet did. The vacuum “monster,” on the other hand, might make him believe that he’s being hunted in the future, leading to increased self-assurance.
About six years old, young people start realizing phobias like being pulled into a vacuum are unfounded. There’s no way your full body could fit into that tiny tube, and vacuum cleaners aren’t evil! Instead, they may prefer to vacuum on their own and take charge of the situation. As a child develops the ability to distinguish between what is conceivable and what is not, this scenario will recur again and time again.
Your imaginative responses to their ever-more-complex questions will no longer suffice at this point. In the sky, thunder is no longer a game of bowling, and the moon isn’t actually made of cheese. Because they no longer believe in these fantastical stories, your children will nevertheless be able to picture a bowling match on the moon or a moon made of cheese. You can get depressed by spending too much time on social media, too. When kids see how many “friends” their peers have and how much fun they appear to be having, they may begin to doubt their own abilities or feel as if they don’t measure up to their peers.