Play Therapy

Understand Your Children’s Play, Grow as a Parent:
Coaching for the Heart-and-Brain-based
Parent, aka, “Child Whisperer”

Why are my children acting like this?

How can I help them get to where they feel calm, confident, and in control of themselves?

How do I encourage them to listen to reason, be responsible, get along with others, and make wise choices?

Did you know that your children do better when they feel better?

One of the ways they can feel better is when they know that you’re seeing, hearing, understanding, and valuing them for exactly who they are at this given moment. Most of us come into parenting with notions that were handed down to us by our parents. Some of these ideas are useful, others, not so much. We think we can shape their behavior by praising what’s “good” and extinguishing what’s “bad” by force, “consequences,” and punishment. The problem with this approach is that it’s coercive––it forces our kids to obey us out of fear or the wish to please us, instead of nurturing the relationship and encouraging thoughtful choices.

When we start with a foundation of trust, acceptance, and understanding of our children’s developmental abilities, we’re more able to help them operate from the inside out so that they can grow up knowing what’s right. This means that they can self-correct without needing other people’s guidance. They’ll know and want to do the right thing.

At True North, I’ll come to your home and coach you in creating a safe, neutral play space where you’ll build a warmer, more connected relationship with your child. You’ll begin a journey that gives you the tools to peer into your child’s world. Your child’s natural language is play and your path to understanding this world is through child-directed play.

Child-centered play gives children a safe space to learn and master physical and emotional self-control, experiment with ideas and feelings, and make sense of their world. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, children can’t adequately express their ideas, emotions, or experiences. Given a neutral space and the right equipment to express themselves through play, kids can figure out how to cope with life’s challenges, without needing to use words. In this imaginary realm, play that’s directed by the child, is the child’s work.

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.” – Dr. Charles E. Schaefer, “father of play therapy”

Play teaches your child:

skills to deal with conflict, confusion, fear, worries, anger, anxiety, grief and loss, and changes in the home or family (divorce, remarriage, new baby, new home or school, and more)
social skills
emotional self-regulation
problem solving
physical coordination (fine motor skills, sensory integration)

You’ll help your children grow emotionally and cognitively by simply allowing them to play, without trying to teach them, control them, praise or criticize what they’re doing. I’ll support you in “trying on” a new frame of mind that accepts where the child is right now and sees what your child needs to express in this moment. Your children will see and know that they are valued and accepted for who they are, just the way they are.

Some of the things we’ll practice include seeing your filters and your emotional baggage so you can separate your needs from theirs. This will help you appreciate their strengths and limitations, and eventually come to better understand what they need from you at this moment.

You’ll learn to implement discipline while keeping to the true spirit of the word, which means to teach. You won’t be a “permissive” parent, because you’ll know how to set limits and uphold boundaries by being both kind and firm.

Can you imagine what would your family be like if you could have peaceful and harmonious relationships with your children? If you had strategies to guide your children with joy, empathy, and firmness?

Your children can have their best chance for success if you invest your time and energy in engaging them in the “work” of play.

To find out how I may best serve you and your family, please leave a voicemail or a confidential text message for Kim Wallant, LMHC, RPT, ATR, at 561.351.4256. I will do my best to return your call within a day during business hours.