Children boost their self esteem through play.

While they play, children are developing an understanding of themselves and others, increasing their mastery and knowledge of their physical world, and learning to communicate with others. Play is essential to children's development by contributing to their physical, social, cognitive and emotional well being.

Unfortunately, time and opportunities for free play have noticeably reduced for many children.
Learning to have the ability to focus and concentrate for long periods is markedly reduced, as well as the opportunity to boost self esteem through play.

Why are children being deprived of play opportunities by parents?

In the ever increasing marketing of hi-technology games for children, educational DVD's, television programmes and other structured activities, children are losing their natural ability for creativity.

Parents often follow media and marketing trends in the hope that they will boost their children's self esteem and intelligence. Many forget how important it is for a child to lose himself in concentrated, imaginative play.

Another reason is that in many places, children's free time playing out of doors has been greatly reduced, if not curtailed completely, because of fear of strangers, media publicity of child attacks, and an increasing sense that neighborhoods are no longer safe.

Self Esteem Activities

Play creates constant opportunities for inner growth and mastery, as adults respond to their child's innate imaginative play.

For example, in games such as hide and seek, peek a boo, and playing pretend house, children learn to interact with other children and adults, learn about taking turns, sharing, communicating, achieving mastery, and playing with others.

As toddlers develop, pretend play often takes centre stage in their playing time and many a first time parent is simply awed at their toddler's ability to initiate and understand the concept of pretending.

Children learn and express what they feel and understand about their world through complex action during play and take on intricate role playing.

Many parents are shocked to see themselves as examples of expert mimicry, and often recognise with dismay as well as mirth, some of their own actions being copied and practiced by their toddlers.

Here are some suggestions for supporting childrens' imaginative play

Schedule large amounts of free time so your child learns that he can relax and concentrate.

Let your child know that he doesn't have to hurry, doesn't have to clean up right away, can make a big mess, will have all morning, or all day, or until next Friday, or whatever.

Create special play times when you can tell your child clearly:
"You don't have to hurry". "You can have all the time you need."

* Talk with your children about their play.

* Play with them fully so they see and know how much you value play.

* Get involved in providing suggestions, activities, ingredients, props, play clothes and ideas.

* Child proof areas so that safety is not too problematic.

How to promote play to boost self esteem for your toddler

Your toddler:

* Needs a safe environment in which to play and explore

* Enjoys sandpits, swings, slides, playgrounds, swimming pools and walking

* Likes to imitate by pretending to perform adult tasks

* Benefits from play in water, dirt, sand and with leaves, sticks and stones.

* Enjoys large cardboard boxes and other non-toy play things.

As a parent:

* Do provide the time and space for concentrated play activities.

* Childproof and create safe play areas.

* Do allow your child to help with chores, work at the kitchen bench, do cleaning.

* Do read to your child at least daily

* Provide your child with housekeeping toys such as a toy vacuum, pots and pans, brooms and mops, cleaning clothes.

* Control television watching and technological toys

* Walk outside often, play in nature, explore, ramble and swim together.

* Never underestimate the power of music to relax, enliven and teach your child.

Author's Bio: 

Helen Williams is a mother, family counselor, parent educator, and editor of Helen helps parents to discover the simple but profound difference clear, firm and consistent parenting will bring to their family.- with her main focus on enhancing children's happiness, self esteem and responsibility while increasing and developing parents' emotional maturity. Helen is the mother of four grown children who live in interesting parts of the world, and is also a proud grandmother. Continual education has been the hallmark of her life.