Playing makes children happy!01/08/17

 


As a psychologist I am privileged to be able to spend a lot of time with children doing play therapy. This gives me a unique and special opportunity to see in children what is often hidden from adults. Most children will try their hardest to be happy. They are always on the lookout for opportunities to create fun. This means that, as long as they – or we – find a game that they enjoy, children can quite easily enter into that beautiful state that has been called ‘flow’.

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly defines ‘flow’ as ‘the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. It is those precious moments when time flies.’ ‘Flow’ is the state of mind and body that results from being totally focussed on doing something constructive so that time stands still. It is one of the experiences in life that is known to produce that powerfully valued state of mind that we call ‘happiness’. There are other things besides playing with toys and simple children’s games that can bring about the state of ‘flow’ in a child, such as playing a musical instrument or playing a game of tennis.

When a child – or an adult – is in a state of flow, no part of the mind is left unfocussed and distracted. Sometimes you or your child can lose your way a bit or become stressed and distracted, so that weeks, months or even years can go by without experiencing that wonderful state of ‘flow’. It can be hard to find happiness at all if depression or anxiety are dragging you down. But why not set yourself the challenge of finding ways to bring ‘flow’ into your child’s life – as well as your own. It will do wonders for his or her state of mind and it is certain to boost happiness levels.

Remember that different games and activities appeal to different kids though. So while one activity or game might bring ‘flow’ to a child, the same game can be experienced as boring or frustrating for another child. The key is to find tasks, sports, activities, hobbies and games that your child enjoys. Either do these with your child or create opportunities for him or her to do these alone or with other children. The Children in Mind Playboxes, for sale online, are made up of toys and games that are most likely to bring about this experience of ‘flow’. The Playboxes are made up according to age, gender and they can be customized for your child, according to specific circumstances such as illness, anxiety or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Visit our online shop or contact jenny@perkel.co.za for more details or to order your Playbox.


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