Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): One of the most important things we can do as parents is allow our children to lead the play. Which means that we are not stepping in all the time and giving them ideas and entertaining them and providing them with an activity, something to do. It’s just taking a breath, stepping back and allowing their ideas and their offers to guide whatever they’re doing.
Now children, they are already people and we need to respect them as that. They’ve got their own ideas, they can think about things and they know innately how to play. Now if they ask you to be involved and they’re inviting you to come and join in, then by all means that’s fantastic.
So, when a child invites you to play, the best thing you can do is just to take a moment to sit in what’s happening and watch what they’re doing, and literally follow their lead. Even just imitating what they’re doing is a good way to start and then perhaps you could add your own idea to, say if you are building towers, perhaps you add you know 2 more blocks to your tower. So, it’s a bit taller. And then watch to see how your child responds to that invitation.
So, it’s actually a little bit of a give and take when people are playing together. I’ll put forward an idea, you’ll either be interested in that idea and you’ll match that idea and we can extend it to something else. Or they won’t be interested in that idea and they’ll go off on a different path. So, when we’re playing with children it’s actually just about noticing what they’re doing instead of being too involved and us thinking about what should be happening, just actually noticing what is actually happening in the room.