You are not alone, we hear this question nearly every day in our office. So, we want to give you a sense of exactly what play therapy is and how it helps children everyday. In fact, one of the things that makes PediaPlex such a wonderful place for our kiddos to be is our play therapy area and amazing therapists! Let’s start by saying that play therapy is NOT recess or just “free time”. It is such a meaningful and valuable time for many patients. Let’s dive in!
Clinically speaking, we do understand the importance of play in any child’s life. One of its main purposes, from a behavioral health standpoint, is learning. Through play activities, we learn physical skills, social interaction skills, decision-making abilities, handling disappointment, etc. In our setting at PediaPlex, it allows our therapists to engage your shining stars on a neutral level, a context which builds trust in many kids. We know that specialized play therapy can be especially beneficial for children who have difficulty with:
Play therapy is a mix of our therapist observing your child’s play as well as engaging them in some of these fun activities. One important fact: play therapy is useful in treating children with a wide range of behavioral issues, not just autism! When adults engage therapy they are able to use words to describe their thoughts and feelings and can usually verbally articulate problems and conflicts. Understandably, a 4-year-old won’t be able to understand some of these concepts, let alone have the ability to articulate responses! Games and toys are a way to build trust and begin instilling certain behaviors or necessary social skills.
We apply play therapy on topics which include:
Creating schedules/routines for your child and family
Handling non-compliant/oppositional children
Completing or following through with directions
Reducing emotional outbursts
Learning how to “talk” with your child
Since we’ve introduced a bit about what play therapy is, it makes sense to speak a bit about the BENEFITS of play therapy. The main value of play therapy is the ability to increase understanding and communication between parents/caregivers and their kiddos. We know that all kids are resilient and have the ability to adapt and problem solve. At PediaPlex, we get on their level and relate in the most common and fundamental way – by playing! Through these guided games and activities, kids will begin to learn self-control and responsibility for his/her own actions. After all, even the simplest games have rules and boundaries!
Remember, play therapy is not just for autistic children but can benefit kiddos with a variety of behavioral challenges. If your child is struggling emotionally in preschool, is always throwing toys and having outbursts, or just struggles with negative behaviors, play therapy at PediaPlex could be a very beneficial choice. We would love to show you more!
Schedule a tour today at either our Southlake or Ft. Worth locations and learn more about our play therapy options!