We know that children do not have the language and ability to express themselves through words like adults do. Play is our children’s natural language that they use to explore, express, and experience our world! Children often act out their thoughts and feelings metaphorically through their play.
To illustrate, imagine that you are feeling angry, but that you are not allowed to use the words “angry” or “mad” to describe how you feel. This is a common experience for many of our little ones when we ask them to explain verbally what’s going on for them inside. For children, toys are their words and not giving them the opportunity to play out their feelings is like having your words taken away before someone asks you to describe how you’re feeling!
Research has shown that play is the most effective way to connect with children and to provide them with a means to heal and grow. Play helps children learn language, math, and social skills! Play is a natural stress reliever and helps children to release stress, which allows them to regulate their emotions (not to mention that this helps parents with their stress too!). Play also allows our children to bond and connect with peers and loving adults alike!
Play sessions with children is a process. Initially, children might be weary, nervous, or shy when meeting a new person online and they will have to become comfortable and familiar with us. Our team of clinicians are trained to build connections and relationships with children from the start! We do that through a variety of different means depending on your child’s interests, such as by asking them about their favorite TV characters, making jokes, showing off our pets, drawing pictures together, playing games, singing songs, and just by being silly! We highly encourage parents to get involved in the fun, too! Once they become familiar with their clinician, most children tend to enjoy and look forward to their sessions.
This is usually when the “hard” work starts. As they become more comfortable and feel safe, children become more open and expressive in their play. Play will look different with each child and at each session, depending on our children’s needs, moods, thoughts, and feelings that day. Some children may spend the whole time drawing with their clinician and parents, which is a wonderful way of expressing their internal experience. Other children may choose to jump from one activity to the next! For example, they may want to play play-doh one second and then decide to spin around in their chair. Some children may even choose not to play that day and simply sit and talk with their clinician. What is important is that how your child chooses to engage in each session is relevant clinical information for your clinician.
Don’t worry, your Kismet team will help you understand and interpret your children’s play, drawings, behaviors, and other clinical information in a way that you can understand without needing to have a psychology degree! We will demystify each session by explaining important highlights and answering any questions you might have. We will then work together as a team to discuss any possible solutions, changes, and effective strategies to tackle what we have learned about your child!