Imagination At Risk
Q :Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I have a six-year-old (one of four girls) who I am a little concerned about. She floats into her own world and talks and plays with imaginary people and it is difficult to get her to snap out of it without tapping her on the shoulder or shaking her. She is so engrossed that she notices little of what is going on around her. However she seems to be managing to find plenty of friends and play normally with them as well. She has been in first grade for two months and seems to be coping OK with that.
Brittany's mother wants her to do well in school. She purchased a special series of workbooks designed to help develop cognitive skills in children. Every day when she gets home from work, she sits with Brittany to work on her skills. But despite her mother's best efforts, Brittany usually ends up on the floor screaming and yelling. All she wants to do is go outside, play on the swings and run around the yard.
The one thing that is obvious to every pre-school teacher is how much young children love imaginative games. When I purchase a new game for my class, some kids get excited. If I buy a new doctor's kit or a fireman costume, well, the whole class lines up for a turn. Ten Ways to Encourage Your Young Child's Imagination By Esther Boylan Wolfson Director, Early Childhood Development Center 1.
Yesterday I got down on the floor with my five-year-old son and began to play cars. I did it out of guilt; I felt that I "should" spend time with him. But honestly, I'm not very good at playing cars. I sat down and thought: What are we going to do? My son had no such problem. He smashed and bashed and crashed. He created fires and tornadoes. He took the family on a trip to Africa to visit his dead grandfather.
It's October and we're all turning our attention to costume-making (or hunting) and pretend play. Why is it that children are so excited about Halloween? Why do children love pretend play and more importantly, how should we as parents relate to this excitement? Is encouraging the imagination important to young children and if so, why? To find out more about the crucial role of imagination in childhood, we created an all-new Imagination section. Since reading these thought-provoking pieces, I have a new respect for daydreams, for free time in which to do nothing, for the freedom to let the imagination - perhaps our most powerful mental tool - roam.
Have you read our drama, Why are they Always Just Sitting There? Eugene is outnumbered in a house full of Bonnies. If Bonnie wants to HELP him, she could imagine what she might feel like in a "house full of Eugenes." Eugene needs to hear recognition for the difficult task of accepting kids who are different from the way he was.
Eugene and Bonnie are the parents of two kids, Katie, eight and Randy, 13. Eugene owns parking lots, Bonnie works as a prep chef in a local cafe. It's Saturday afternoon. The kids are lazing around and Eugene wishes his kids were out playing and were more active, more like he was as a kid.
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