Michele Coleman, Ph. D LMFT
How did you make out with playing this Holiday season? What did you do? Did you discover your play personality? Did adding play to your schedule help in any way? If so, be sure to notice what it felt like to add play because when you get stressed or discouraged, remembering to play produces positive chemicals that can lift your mood and enhance your connection to the other.
Our children wake up in fear focused on how to survive the day. The one thing they need in order to learn to trust adult caregivers is for us to be safe. One way to provide an experience of safety is by coming alongside of them and inviting them to play. Not only does play calm the fear around survival but it also produces positive chemicals in the body. Now the positive experiences are associated with you, the adult caregiver. When you can highlight that you are having fun with one another, the brain is being rewired to see parents as positive figures in the child’s life. This is huge!
We can play board games, card games or sporting games. I remember the games of my youth that included jacks, jumping rope, and all ball games. All of these games have the same effect of embedding you, the adult caregiver, into your child’s brain as a positive, nurturing, supportive and oh yes, Fun other. What a great way to start the New Year or to introduce an addition to your family. Have fun playing in 2018. Happy New Year!