Guest Blog By Addison Cooper
Founder of Adoption At The Movies
Transfiguring Adoption is focusing on the importance of play in the lives of foster and adoptive families. Being a guy that mostly writes about how families can find therapeutic value in watching movies together, that sounds great to me. Nothing says that valuable and therapeutic activities have to feel clinical. In fact, some of the best things we can do – or that we can let our kids do – aren’t clinical at all. In fact, the fact that play isn’t clinical, but that it’s just something that happens naturally, is one of the reasons why it’s so important. Kids can learn, heal, grow, process, and develop through play. When kids have been through traumatic events they might not find it as easy to play and so they might need some guided help to play well – but play itself is still important.
Here are eight great things about play – I’m sure you can come up with many, many more – and please leave the ones you do come up with in the comments below!
8 Great Things About Play
- Play is natural
If you can help your kids learn or re-learn how to play freely, you’re helping them regain a normal function of childhood!
- Play is processing
With intentional adult guidance, kids can explore how they would react in different situations, and can even find ways to have “victories” in play in situations that didn’t go so well the first time around.
- Play is social
Through play, kids are able to make and develop friendships; we learn how to interact with people and how to maintain relationships with our friends by playing together, enjoying each other’s company, and resolving disputes that come up. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has esteem and self-esteem as high-level needs, and play can help kids achieve them!
- Play is imaginative
By playing, kids can pretend themselves into all sorts of fanciful situations. Snoopy was Charlie Brown’s pet – but he’s also lived as a World War I Flying Ace, a hockey pro, and Joe Cool; play lets kids explore different identities.
- Play is exercise
Do you find that you sleep better and feel better if you’ve exercised?
- Play is stress relief
Sometimes you just need a break after a stressful day. Kids do, too, and play is a great way for that to happen!
- Play creates memories
Some of the games you invent with and for your kids could be some of the happiest memories they hold onto into adulthood and replicate with their own kids!
- Play is fun
We eat ice cream not because we need to, but because it makes us happy. Play is ice cream without the calories.
About Addison Cooper: Cooper, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri and California. Addison is a clinical supervisor in the field of foster care and adoption. He has published 20 articles and chapters in magazines such as Adoptive Families, Foster Focus, Adoption Today, and MORE. Addison is also the founder and creator of Adoption At The Movies, a website that reviews current movies in order to let foster and adoptive families know the potential benefits/harms that a movie will provide them. Cooper currently lives in Pasadena, CA with his wife.