Children at the age of 3 are very imaginative and they have mastered symbolic play. Thus, playing together and using your imagination to invent your own story or playing with toys, taps into this imaginative aspect. It also taps into language development and emotional bonding. You don’t necessarily have to play with your child all the time, you can provide them with opportunities to play and you can simply observe and comment on what they are doing, you may also ask them questions about what is happening and why it’s happening.
Games to Play: Pretend Play, Dress-Up, Face-Painting, Playing with toys, etc…
Children lose their focus easily in the case when something doesn’t interest or motivate them. Usually, when we present them with activities that stimulates a variety of senses, they are more likely to pay attention and to participate. Sensory play provides them with the opportunity to explore different textures and to test simple cause-and-effect situations.
For example, you may provide them with shaving foam and food colouring, flour and shapes, dough and different cutters, water and different containers, coloured rice, sensory bottles, finger or hand painting, etc…
Copying Adult Behaviour
Young children love copying adults and imitating their actions. When you include them in your daily tasks, you are not only providing them with the opportunity to learn new skills, but you are building up their self-worth and pride. They feel that they are important and have a place in your daily doings. Thus, simple tasks related to cooking, cleaning and clearing up are all fun activities for children as long as they are doing them with you.
The Relational Aspect
Children are social beings and they seek out contact with adults and even other children. Whatever the activity you decide to do it is important to offer them the verbal language that they are lacking, to reassure and contain their emotions and frustrations, to provide positive responses and feedback, and to nurture a warm and positive relationship.
Whatever you decide to do with your child, make it realistic and fair on both of you so that you don’t end up creating unnecessary pressure and expectations on either of you. This will only create tension in your relationship and increase the chance of leading into conflict and frustrations.
Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.