Tonight my Dale was a tiger. He crawled around, up and down the stairs, even cleaned his teeth, and jumped up to open the bathroom door. He roared and growled answers to me, and generally held the posture of a tiger with the skill of a stage performer. It was rather cute.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no perfect parent, who lets their child immerse into their imagination, in fact, I worry that Dales imagination is strong enough to lead him off the edge of a cliff, and safety is not the only reason I feel the need to pull him back into reality. Sometimes I just don’t have the time, patience or headspace to adapt to the needs of whatever animal he is that day. I have to say though, it seems to be much easier to just go with it if I can, as he is much happier to follow my requests if I’m happy to give them to tiger, or possum, or fish, or whatever he is that day, or that minute…
It’s not an original idea of mine. I have some fabulous friends who embrace the modern parenting of imaginative gameplay far further then I could see myself doing, and I never forgot something Darren Hayes said about his mother allowing him to spend time in his imagination, and doing the dishes as C3PO. He is a fabulous and confident performer, and maybe this is who my Dale will be one day. But if he isn’t, I sure would like to have been a part of him being able to create his own place in life…
There are so many Psychological advantages to imagination. It provides social practice (like playing shop, or parents), but it can also build problem solving skills (like tonight, when Dale tiger had to jump to open the door), and even coping skills: children who have been through trauma will often play games involving it, allowing them to theorise and try out other ways to respond if they were in that situation again.
In the picture are Chip and Dale’s favourite comfort soft toys, whom I promised to take to University, because they apparently needed an adventure. I always take photos of their adventures, and the boys thoroughly enjoy the stories I tell when we return home.
Do you believe in supporting your child’s imagination? What do you do to support it?
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