It is often said that Play is the work of children, but children’s play is also a window into their world, so it should also be the work of parents…in some ways. In fact, play is used to study all areas of development in kids, especially during the preschool years. I was previously involved in a study that looked at many things, one being attachment security in 4 and 5-year-olds, using pretend play. The Attachment Story Completion Task, largely started by Inge Bretherton, gives kids the beginning of a scenario using a family of dolls, and asks the child to show “what happens next.” For instance, the little boy spills his milk at the dinner table, what happens next? We can learn a lot about what kind of representation the child has of parent-child relationships and how secure of an attachment he/she has to his/her own parents by how the child completes the story. As a mommy, the words that come out of Pen Elaine’s mouth sometimes give me a bit of insight into what she is hearing me say all the time and what tone of voice she hears me using. We’ve all had those cringe moments when we realize that maybe I need to be more careful with my words!
I was thinking some of this over after getting to watch my Pen Elaine and my niece, Bluebonnet, play with baby dolls. They were fussing about whose baby doll was whose or something like that, so I distracted by making make-shift baby slings. They loved it and were the cutest things ever! They took good care of their babies, like good little mommas 🙂 We have a new baby on the way, so it’s fun to practice some things in preparation for a new baby in the house, and that give way to talking about the baby. We’ve been really enjoying the Berenstain Bears’ New Baby, especially since we happened to have been reading it right before we switched Pen Elaine from a crib to a big girl bed. Big times. Talking things over is a good thing, even when it seems like I’m not quite getting through, but “playing” things over is even better!