Today Nanny Ju Ju looked like a nanny who wasn’t paying attention to her little charge by sitting on the park bench at the local playground doodling in her daily planner BUT in fact she was encouraging parallel play.
When arriving at the playground Nanny Ju Ju discussed with her little charge some tips for social interaction within the environment. These were…saying Hello to other playground goers; playing near the other children or asking them a question. Another ice breaker for children in the age group of 4 years and interested in Spidy (Spider Man) is hopefully another child dressed up as Spider Man! Yes this happened to be the case today and all Nanny Ju Ju’s encouragement was forgotten and the mesmerizing fascination of Spider man took over but hey it’s all good because my little charge embraced the parallel play all by himself.
Parallel Play encourages self confidence, social skills and interaction among peers.
So as they (Spidy and his adoring fan) were playing together for the better part of an hour the play became a bit too rough for the other children attending the playground for their dose of morning fun. A small but forceful shove and a loss of balance and the tears were ON. Now if you were watching and saw it happen that’s great but if you like most parents and caregivers missed the two second time lapse where everything happened, you may find yourself judging the situation like a referee during a footy grand final with both sides yelling at you for whatever comes out of your mouth.
“But I didn’t do it!” comes the reply from your child. The course Nanny Ju Ju takes… Explain why we don’t play rough; a heart felt apology is due if your child is in the wrong or an “Are you ok?” to the hurt or distressed child if your child didn’t do the (in this case) shoving. This action of ‘Are you ok?’ displays empathy and is so simple to convey but such an important part of a child’s development.