As we approach the one month mark since Thompson Child Therapy went fully online, I am in awe of how quickly not only our practice but our clients have adjusted to a new daily routine to support nationwide efforts to stay home and “flatten the curve” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We support families that know the importance of structure and routine to support all children (especially highly sensitive children.)  This becomes more important during times of change and uncertainty. Most have had a few weeks to develop and troubleshoot their schedules. And I am proud to see how well they are balancing online school (and online therapy!), being active, family time, and connecting with family and friends remotely.

My Advice to Parents…

In remote therapy sessions, I stress to families that incorporating playtime into a child’s daily schedule is critical.  Playtime is a great way to keep your child distracted so that you can get work done or enjoy a cup of coffee… but, more importantly, playtime also helps to:

  • Release your child’s creative potential
  • Support emotional processing
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Increase self-regulation

Use Play During Times of Tragedy

I was browsing social media the other day and saw a post about how humans have always ‘found the humor in tragedy.’  The poster used the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” as an example. 

The Americanized version goes like this:

Ring-a-round the rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.”

The common theory is that the rhyme originated in London after the Great Plague of 1665 as a playground singing game. Children used it to help them process the death and chaos going on around them. 

If this origin is true, it highlights the importance of play and creative expression in how children process everything, including global tragedy. Even your best efforts to put on a smile and keep things as normal as possible won’t totally hide your stress and uncertainty – and that’s okay! 

Parents are allowed to be human! 

Helping Your Child…

First, validate your child’s uncertainty and worries by explaining your own, and assure them things will get better soon. This will help them process. Then instead of telling them to go and think about it…encourage them to go and play about their feelings. Offer to play along with them, while allowing your child to lead. 

After a year of conducting therapeutic play sessions the TCT way, I am amazed at the level of processing that takes place in a playroom.

We Can Help

If you are interested in enhancing the therapeutic benefits of playtime and getting involved yourself, reach out! We are taking new clients and play therapy can be conducted online with children as young as four.

At Thompson Child Therapy, we look forward to supporting you and your family during this difficult time and beyond!

Click here to contact us.

This blog post was written by Sophia Dykstra, LCSW-C, who is actively pursuing her Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential now that she’s fallen in love with play therapy.