Children and adolescents need play to develop as their own separate person.
They need to play to foster emotional well-being and to forward brain development and integration. The type of play that serves development is devoid of work and outcome-based agendas. It needs to allow for expression, provide a sense of safety, and leads to emotional repair and recovery.
The instinct to play is hard wired into us because it serves attachment and provides rest. We are losing the kind of play our kids need to flourish. We now require insight and knowledge to preserve play in a digital world and to harness its power in growing our kids up.
Articles About Play
Four Irreducible Needs for Healthy Development
One of our greatest responsibilities is to create the conditions that allow our children and adolescents to develop and flourish. There are four irreducible needs that must be met if our kids are to reach their full human potential: to attach, to feel, to rest, and to play. Using developmental and relational science, we will chart a course towards providing for these needs.
To attach requires us to develop caring relationships to anchor our children to us. Through attachment, we create a psychological womb for maturation to occur. It isn’t enough that we love our kids but that they give their heart to us for safe keeping.
To feel means we support a child or teen with their emotions, so they grow to be caring, socially responsible individuals. We know soft hearts are needed to grow well, overcome adversity, and to become resilient and resourceful.
To foster rest means we answer our kid’s hunger for connection and need for emotional expression, whether we are supporting sleep, feeding them, or helping them learn. Rest is vital to caring for their body, heart, and mind.
Creating the conditions for play helps to preserve emotional health and support the development of selfhood. Play is a natural context for deepening relationships and for learning too.
View helpful infographics to make sense of kids through developmental science.
You are in the driver’s seat. Start making sense of your kids in a new way.