Years ago, I read a chapter on Children’s Play in an Early Childhood textbook. Before then, I really had not thought about the importance of children’s play. It is a much needed skill in socialization and it also gives the observer a peek into a child’s makeup and personality.
As I work with small ones, I have learned to monitor them and see how they are playing. Are they being fair? Are they sharing? Are they being kind to one another? Or, are they saying mean things when they think no one is looking? Are they cheating?
These things crop up quite early in children and they reveal a lot about that child’s characteristics or home environment. We adults can see what is going on and we may try to redirect any negative behaviors as they interact with others. We can only hope that we can make an impact and help them make better decisions in the future.
But, some traits are just there and they show up early in their lives. Even as adults, some will lean towards making those same types of choices. If we think of people that we have known for many years, we can think back to how they played when they were very small. From that vantage point, we can compare how they interacted as a child to how they function in the adult world. There is often a correlation.
I don’t think that children come with a clean slate, as some theorists once believed. When we witness any disconcerting actions, we can talk, separate the agitators from the victimized and find better places for all involved. We can also look for the positive aspects in each child. There is some good in everyone. Sometimes, we have to do a little finagling until everyone is in their best possible space.
But, play should be done under a watchful eye because as we all know, it only takes a minute for light mishaps to occur. Most children will probably evolve into healthy, cooperative adults, but for those who stick out like sore thumbs; well, we hold our breath and hope that they will climb aboard the good train. Yet, if we get some strange report years later, we may not say anything. We just give a silent nod and say to ourselves, “Oh yeah, I remember how he used to play.” Tsk. Tsk.
September 25, 2015