Role Playing is to assume the role of another character…to pretend to be someone for a moment. It is something all kids find themselves doing, whether they are superheroes flying through the backyard or teachers who have all their stuff animals as students in the classroom. My boys role play as lions and dinosaurs on a daily basis, which means my background noise is literally a constant roar. I know that most of the role play is pretend and birthed from their imaginations, which I absolutely love watching, but what if we took the role play to real life. For instance, what if you role played behaviors, communication techniques, and so forth. And what if role playing became a reality. Well, since our soon-to-be two year old is starting to communicate so well, we have been performing real life role play. (Seems like an oxymoron I know, but work with me.) One example is to role play sharing. We literally have a toy and pretend the other wants it. Then use words, not hitting or yanking the toy from the other person, but asking for the toy with manners. After practicing some we move on to the next thing. But what is absolutely amazing is when the real life scenario comes and the younger brother discovers the older brother’s favorite t-rex. In this moment, I bring the role play to reality. As the older brother is running to tackle the younger brother for his toy, I say or shout (lol), “Just ask him for it…simply try asking him for it like we have practiced.” The older brother takes a step back and says, “Can I please have my toy?” and the younger brother gives it to him. It is a wow, OMG moment not just for me, but for them as they realize that what we have been preforming actually works in real life. We role play other things like asking for food, giving each other space, how to act in a store, what to do when adults are talking, etc. Now the truth is that there will be moments when little brother gets tackled down to the ground, but that does not take the wow from the moments when he doesn’t. I do my best to celebrate the moments when what we have practiced in role play comes to fruition. A simple pat on the back, hug and “you did so great” goes a long way. Our kids love affirmation. Here is what I do know…kids love to play and pretend, so why not play and practice real life. Give it a try. Play with them too. Who knows you might get the role of that famous cook or CEO!
Is there something your kids need to practice or role play? Do you have any role play suggestions? 😉