For more than fifty years, children's free play time has been continually declining, and it's keeping them from turning into confident adults.
What are your memories of playing as a child? Some of us will remember hide and seek, house, tag, and red rover red rover. Others may recall arguing about rules in kickball or stick ball or taking turns at jump rope, or creating imaginary worlds with our dolls, building forts, putting on plays, or dressing-up. From long summer days to a few precious after-school hours, kid-organized play may have filled much of your free time. But what about your children?
Don't worry about saying the perfect thing- there is no answer that will make everything ok. It's alright to say you don't know. What children need most is someone to hear their concerns, accept their feelings, and be there for them. Answer their questions honestly, keep your responses simple and appropriate to their developmental level. Provide reassurance. Being silent or avoiding the issue won't protect them from what happened and may prevent them from understanding and learning how to cope with their feelings. Shutting down communication may leave your child with the impression that they can't or shouldn't come to you about the difficult things.
My wake-up call was when the preschool teacher came up to me and said, “Your daughter is doing well academically. In fact, I’d say she exceeds expectations in these areas. But she is having trouble with basic social skills like sharing and taking turns.” Not only that, but my daughter was also having trouble controlling her emotions, developed anxiety and sensory issues, and had trouble simply playing by herself!