Sandra Mayer
Nov 22, 2016 · 3 min read

Role Play is AWESOME!

Parenting can be very, very difficult especially when your child turns three. Hopefully, you have survived the terrible twos, even though my children went through those when they were two, three and into four, and you are ready to settle down and help your child reach and achieve their milestones.

One of these milestones is playing shop. This is where your child sets up their toys in a row or spread around the room, or on mommy’s bed and you have to pretend to ‘buy’ these toys with make-believe, play or even real money. Of course, you have to give the toys back so they can re-sell them to you again and again, and they keep the money. Huh!

The child always gets the greatest kick out of this roleplay but for a parent, it is extremely boring. How many times can you buy the same pink unicorn, and still have to give it back?

Of course, there are other role-playing games that your child would love to play with you and you are happy to play with them. One of these games is where the child wants to be an adult and the parent becomes the child.

This occurred the other day to my wonderful and patient sister-in-law who shared with me what hilarious things happened in this game.

It started as a typical morning, and my niece wanted to play a role play game of where she was the mommy and my sister-in-law was the daughter. No excuses came to mind so my sister-in-law reluctantly agreed.

At first, the game was painfully boring but then my sister-in-law started to get into it, simply saying and doing everything her child normally does.

First, my sister-in-law refused to get in the ‘car’ and made her ‘Mommy’ put her seat belt on. Then when ‘Mommy’ was ready to drive, my sister-in-law needed a snack and dropped it on the ground as soon as she got back in her seat. She then threw a tantrum when she wouldn’t pick it up.

My sister-in-law fought with her ‘elder brother’ and complained that he scratched her. My sister-in-law made ‘Mommy’ tell him off and get her a Bandaid to cover the pretend scratch. ‘Mommy’ was doing pretty well trying to think of solutions. When ‘Mommy’ tried to drop my sister-in-a-law at kindy she clung to her and whined not to leave.

Then when they got home my sister-in-law swung on the bar stools, chased the cat and threw the sofa cushions everywhere. ‘Mommy’ told her off again and again and again. My sister-in-law ran to her room and began throwing all her books from the bookshelf, making a great mess. Suddenly ‘Mommy’ had had enough and burst into tears — there was nothing she could do or say to stop my sister-in-law.

My sister-in-law said she had never had so much fun in her life.

Even though in the beginning some adults find role-playing with their child a chore, it is worth participating, as extensive research has shown that through role-playing children naturally learn by becoming someone or something else. Role play stimulates their imagination and “enhances their social development, encourages friendship through cooperation, listening and turn-taking”. Therefore, role play is a really vital activity for our children.

Ute Limacher-Riebold (Feb 3, 2013)

Also, it is clear that “pretence plays a vital role in young children’s lives and that the period of its salience extends through the primary school years as well.” (Bergen, 1998)

So, not only is role-playing fun it may be “important in its enhancement of the child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and, ultimately, creativity.” (Russ, 2004; Singer & Singer, 2005)

Role play sounds really awesome!

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