Dramatic play is a great way for your child to learn about social rolls and social rules. Dramatic play allows children to imitate the adults that are in their lives, but it also gives them a chance to act out situations that they are uncomfortable with. Dramatic play is a benefit for children who are scared of certain situations because it gives them a chance to be in control, they get to determine the outcome of the game.
Here are some things that you can do to enhance your child’s dramatic play.
Number one: Be playmates
Become your child’s playmate, but do not take charge. Children learn best from dramatic play when they can control the outcome of the play. Children do not enjoy playing alone, so by playing with your child you will encourage their dramatic play. This technique works best for children who are under two years old, but it can still work with older children. Dramatic play is something that involves more than one child, so if your child does not have playmates their age, you will need to be their playmate. If your child is older, you will need to arrange play dates so your child and others can support each other through dramatic play.
Number two: Don’t interfere and play along
Never interfere with your child’s dramatic play. You want to encourage them to use their imagination and allow it to flow; if you interfere, it can interrupt their imaginative flow. Even if it is time for your child to eat lunch, try not to interrupt their play, instead offer them the opportunity to eat lunch in their cave or at their restaurant, depending on what they are doing. Always play along with what your child is doing. If they create an imaginative playmate, encourage this behavior, as long as it is appropriate. Most children create an imaginative friend that has a character that complements theirs, but sometimes they can take this over the line. You will need to step in and take corrective action if your child decides to do something naughty and blame their imaginative friend for their behavior.
Number three: Space
You need to provide your children with some space inside your home to give them the chance for imaginative play. This is important even if your home is not going to look perfect all of the time. For example, allow your child to turn the dining room into a campground by making a tent with blankets and the table. You can also allow them to connect all of the tables in the house to turn them into a tunnel. Allow your child to use furniture in the house to be creative.
Number four: Read
Reading a lot to your children and talking them places will also help enhance their dramatic play because it will give them more ideas to use when acting out different situations. When you read to your child be sure to ask them stimulating questions to enhance their understanding of what is going on. One of the best stimulating questions to ask your child is what would you do if you were….? The questions and answers that they provide will give them more ideas for their dramatic play.
Number five: Preschool
If your child is getting ready to go into preschool, you need to search for a preschool that encourages imaginative play. Many preschools will allow your child to play dress-up or house, but some schools allow more time for this than others. Preschools that are based on the Waldorf philosophy focus more on pretend play than others.
Remember your child can only be as creative as you let them be. To encourage dramatic play you will need to provide your child with toys that support their imaginative play.