Is there meaning to how children play?

Is there meaning to how children play?

We don’t often attribute meaning to how children play or even what they decide to play with. They seem to always have their preference for the things that they do. Especially at a younger age, they may not even be able to tell us why specifically they do certain things. Especially in early childhood trauma cases, the child may indeed not talk much at all and instead opt to do their thing in silence.

Childhood trauma is a difficult subject to bring up. Nobody wants to think about a child so young and innocent facing the harsh world so soon in their lives. Sometimes though, it is inevitable; whether it is losing a loved one like a parent, a pet, or being in the midst of a messy divorce. These things can truly leave a lasting negative mark on the child, leaving some to withdraw into themselves and away from the world.

At such a young age, children don’t have very many ways to understand or express the complexities of their emotions.

In play therapy, play has meaning. How the child plays and what they play with are tools of communications for the play therapist. They interpret and reflect the meaning back to the child and allow the child to guide the sessions forward. The therapist uses these sessions as a means to allow the child to confront their experience, emotions, and thoughts in a non-confrontational manner. 

Learn more about Play Therapy here:

College of Allied Educators offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills. Awarded by the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy, UK, (APAC), the programme will allow students to further explore ways of integrating the child as the centre of a social system, which includes schools, families and a team of support. It will also introduce you to developmental practices, types of play therapy, legal frameworks, assessment, protection procedures and therapeutic interventions.


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