Play therapy is used to help children express themselves, explore their feelings, and discover new ideas that lead to healthier, happier outcomes. It can be used as a primary intervention or adjunctive therapy for many social, emotional, and behavioral disorders. And while play therapy is most appropriate for children three to twelve years old, teens and adults can also benefit from these techniques.
Here are just a few developmental benefits of play therapy.
Build Social Skills
Social skills are critical to healthy child development. Social skills teach children how to communicate their needs, learn cooperation, to be assertive, and make friends. Play therapy can be very effective for building these skills.
In play therapy, pretend play, puppets, and soft toys are often used to encourage the child to explore ideas and behaviors in imaginative settings. This allows the child to respond to these various social situations in a safe, playful manner, while learning different behaviors and the consequences of those behaviors.
Your child is naturally curious. They want to explore the environment around them, and learn new skills. This requires a level of independence.
Play therapy teaches independence and independent thought by providing a safe environment for the child to communicate and test ideas in. It allows them an opportunity to develop a sense of self, in addition to better problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Cultivate Empathy & Respect
Nurturing empathy and respect for others from an early age has significantly positive long-term results.
Play therapy can demonstrate acceptance of others and new ideas using a wide variety of play scenarios that engage the child and their imagination. This can also help them formulate new strategies and solutions to problems, by learning to see from a different perspective.
Improve Behavior Regulation
Behavior regulation is our ability to manage our attention, emotion, energy, and behavior. It is also learning how to resist unhealthy behaviors to regulate emotion.
For children, learning healthy self-regulation early is critical to strengthening social and problem-solving skills. Play therapy allows them to test boundaries in a safe environment. This is how they can learn the rewards of healthy behavior regulation, and the consequences of poor behavior regulation.
To learn more about the developmental benefits of play therapy, or to schedule a session for your child, contact us today.