Emotional well-being in children is key to mentally robust adults. However, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and kids rarely know what to make of their emotions.
It can be difficult to even put feelings into words, let alone deal with them. Thus, kids look upon adults for guidance – making us wonder how to engage with them and teach them productive coping habits.
According to Jacqueline M. Swank’s research, as children transition from ages 7 to 9, they shift from imaginative play to more structured activities. To assess their ego strength and emotional development, gameplay therapy becomes crucial. Board games, with their rule-based and competitive nature, encourage cognitive engagement and secondary process thinking, fostering the development of reality-based principles. During this period, children tend to use games, particularly board games, as a communication tool in counseling sessions, gradually favoring them over imaginative play.
Therapeutic games offer a safe and fun environment for a kid to learn introspection and improve communication skills, focus, self-control, and ability to take on challenges.
What are therapy games?
Therapy games are interactive activities or exercises designed to facilitate therapeutic processes and promote psychological well-being. These games can be used in various therapeutic settings, such as counseling, psychotherapy, or educational contexts.
They often involve elements of play, discussion, and reflection to address specific mental health issues, improve communication skills, build trust, and enhance emotional regulation. Therapy games are versatile tools that can cater to diverse therapeutic goals and can be particularly useful in engaging individuals, couples, families, or groups in the therapeutic process.
Reasons for Children to Play With Therapy Games
|Process difficult emotions
|Anger, sadness, fear
|Work through traumatic experiences
|Discuss and process trauma
|Develop coping skills
|Improve social skills
|Interactive play with others
|Achievement in play activities
|Learn new things
|Exploration and discovery