Friday, October 4, 2013

Parenting Tip - What Would Happen If....

One of my favorite things to do with grandchildren (or any children for that matter) is play the "which would you rather" game.

Which would you rather......go swimming or play at the park?
Which would you rather......eat an ice cream cone or lick a sucker?

You can find out a lot about your children/grandchildren's tastes and interests by asking questions like these.

Recently I read another fun game here that fosters imagination.

What would happen if......everyone had 4 arms?
What would happen if......toys grew on trees?

Your child has to think and imagine the scenarios of these questions--which is a great cognitive skill.

Researchers are studying children and their imaginations and hoping that will help in understanding children with autism. In an article on children's "magical thinking", Dr. Harris states, "there is evidence that imagination and role play appears to have a key role in helping children take someone else's perspective. Kids with autism, on the other hand, don't engage in much pretend play, leading some to suggest that the lack of such activity contributes to their social deficits." 

Interesting! Can you help an autistic child learn to imagine things? Would that stimulate part of the injured brain and help repair it?


The Reader's Digest had an article that listed 5 benefits of encouraging your child's imagination.  I especially liked this one:

     Work out fears
     Playing pretend can help children work out their fears and worries. When children    role-play about the big, bad monster under the bed, they gain a sense of control over him and he doesn’t seem quite so big or so bad. Imaginative play also helps kids vent confusing feelings they might have, such as anger toward a parent or rivalry with a new sibling.


      To encourage your youngster’s imagination, read to him every day. Books offer  children the opportunity to visit other worlds and create new ones of their own.

I read a fun book this week to a music class of children/parents called, "Cows Can't Fly" by David Milgrim.  I had two of the older siblings play funny sounds on a keyboard after every stanza, which really added to the fun.  Then I encouraged the children to close their eyes and visualize cows flying in the sky.  I asked them what color their cows were and what they looked like.  Then I challenged them to go home and draw some cows flying.  

I was delighted to have one of my students, Clark, age 8, come back later in the day for his piano lesson, with his picture of cows that were white with blue polka dots.



*  Encourage your children to use their imagination by not providing them with lots of toys.  I loved watching my two preschool age daughters play secretary one day many years ago, using bananas as their telephones.

*  Encourage imaginations by reading to your children.  Every so often have them draw something related to the book.  

*  This site has lots of fun ideas to encourage your children's imaginations, with many ideas requiring nothing but talking with your child--like "Mouse-Eye View, and If Pickles Could Talk.  What a great way to keep your child quiet and busy while waiting in the doctor's office or grocery store line. 

And this by Walt Disney, "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse."  I think that is hilarious and yet, profound.
Thanks for reading,

Cathy

1 comment:

  1. Elise was almost ready for bed after music class that day when she remembered she had to draw her cow! So we paused our bedtime routine and pulled out some crayons. Her cow was blue with yellow spots. We'll have to show you her cute picture next time. Thanks for all the fun!

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