The Importance of Play in School Transitions

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Play is the space where children (especially young children) go to learn about the world around them. As kiddos pick up stress and energy throughout the day, the way they make sense of it and realize it is through play.

As we all know, transitioning to school is hard for kids. When parents ask me what the best thing for them is during times of high change, my response is always, "Let them play more."  They often looked at me in a way that what I'm saying feels counter-intuitive to them. The truth is: the more transition a child is in, the more play they need. Because play is a space where kids learn how to de-stress.

When you play with a child, they feel naturally connected and more trusting of you. As a child's attachment figures, we are responsible for creating trust and connection with them. When kids are struggling with the school transition, getting on the floor and playing with them in a meaningful way where they feeling connected to you and to themselves allows them to move through the stress of the transition naturally. By playing, they feel understood and heard by you. And you get to have fun too!

How can you begin to incorporate more play into your work with children? If you are already doing so, what's working really well? What could you fine tune for deeper connection and trust with them?