GUEST BLOG: DOES MY PRESCHOOLER NEED PLAY THERAPY?
Do you ever wonder if the behaviors you see in your preschooler are normal or a cause for concern? Do you sometimes question your parenting strategies and wonder if there’s a better way to respond to your child?
As three to five year olds become more independent their behaviors can be challenging to most parents. Children who are experiencing difficulty adjusting to the birth of a sibling, a family move or starting preschool may be feeling anxious, confused or fearful. Bedtime battles, potty training, and temper tantrums can prevent you from feeling positive about your ability to parent your preschooler effectively. Sometimes parents are able to resolve difficulties on their own. Sometimes consulting with a play therapist can put a parent at ease.
A well-trained play therapist will provide a weekly play time for your child where they can explore their feelings and play out life experiences using toys such as dolls, puppets and art supplies that will facilitate creative expression. Play therapy can help preschoolers make sense of the world around them. It can increase their self-esteem and help them develop a vocabulary of emotions.
A play therapist will work closely with you to help you understand your child developmentally and help you put discipline strategies into place so you will be able to support and encourage your preschooler. They might even suggest you plan weekly parent-child play times at home. The play therapist can also make recommendations for programs and support services in your community that are best suited to your unique situation and needs.
Even the best parents have questions. Play therapy can help.
Pam Dyson, MA, LPC-S, RPT-S owns a private practice www.pamdyson.com in Plano, TX providing parent consultations and play therapy services for children 3-12 years of age. A former early childhood educator with a passion for preschoolers, she is the founder and director of the DFW Center for Play Therapy Training www.dfwplaytherapy.com and serves on the board of directors of the Association for Play Therapy.