Emotional Health & Wellbeing by Caz Campbell/ Be More Toddler

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats” which are all on my website: www.happykindcalm.co.uk  I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Today is April Fool’s Day and National Play Day! Have you played a prank or had one done on you this morning? I love the big brands who sometimes get involved, like transparent Marmite and Glow in the Dark MacDonald’s burgers!

So the topic for this blog is “Playing”…

Playing games can invite something a bit different to a normal evening or weekend and can invoke ideas, fun, as well as using your brain. Research shows that play can help trauma recovery, relieve stress, improve brain function and enhance relationships. However, we shouldn’t play specifically with these points in mind, we have to play for the enjoyment, without aiming for a goal of improvement. Allowing yourself to live in the moment of play, without any pressure of having to excel at an activity is the key, so playing as a toddler would.

Play is normally associated with children. In the mid-century, and sadly in some parts of the world now, children as young as five worked so they didn’t really have a childhood filled with playing. We then moved away from that to children playing all day by themselves in the woods, back in time for dinner. In more recent years however, there’s been a trend back towards less play and more ‘work’ in the way of scheduling – structured classes of music, sport and hobbies – which isn’t the free play which can be so important for children and adulthood.

Free play is unstructured and unsupervised so it’s when children have the chance to make up their games with their own rules. This way they learn to negotiate and share through their own experiences rather than being told or shown by an adult. Free play promotes creativity, cognitive language, social, emotional and self-regulation skills that build executive function. Executive functions are key to becoming a well-rounded adult as they include problem solving, collaboration, planning, memory and self-control.

What’s your / your family’s favourite thing to play? What is your grandchildren’s favourite game? Have you taught them a game from your childhood? Sometimes the simplest ideas like tag, hide and seek or catch are the ones that are most popular and can go on the longest! We played “foxes and hedgehogs” this morning before school, which was basically hide and seek – the fox seeks the hedgehogs who’ve hidden – then the fox captures them with a blanket when found! Because my daughters made this game up it gave them so much joy.

What are you up to this Easter weekend that is fun?!

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