“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” - Stuart Brown, MD
Professionals highly recommend that potential employees spend time simulating an interview before they encounter the real situation. This is a method of preparation shown to reduce anxiety and may increase the chances of employment. Adopt role-playing as a positive habit to prepare for social situations by learning different methods which pertain to your child's specific needs.
A normal component of a child's playtime is role-playing, due to this, they begin reaping rewards from this style of play on their own from an early age. When you notice your child pretending to be a doctor, a parent, or a teacher, they are learning and developing proper responses. As the parent, initiate role-playing scenarios by creating characters and situations that your child may not have thought of.
This practice reinforces and encourages positive interactions with types of people they feel comfortable around, however, you can begin to involve new situations that may cause them stress when encountered outside of play. Talk to your child in order to understand the types of situations that concern them. Your child may feel nervous starting school, which means that role-playing the first day of school can potentially alleviate the stress they feel. Allow them to act out multiple roles, including the teacher dealing with a nervous child or fellow students who are looking forward to the first day of school.
Alternatively, you can utilize role-playing to address negative behavior your child or other children demonstrate. If your child is an aggressive player, suggest they pretend to be the timid child on the playground feeling nervous. This method of play can teach empathy and tolerance regarding the different types of children they may encounter while also allowing them to glimpse how their behavior truly affects others.
There is a power in play that allows for inspiration, creativity, development, and imagination. While your child will grow through independent play, your interaction may be the catalyst which transforms them into a well-adjusted individual capable of confronting various situations, including those which induce stress. Providing your guidance will stimulate the type of personal growth which will positively impact their future success.