A Storm a Brewing!

wpid-imag0049_burst010_1.jpgOutside right now there is literally a storm brewing but I thought I’d talk about how absolutely nuts the emotions of a toddler/pre-schooler can be. As a parent I’ve already gone through this stage once and I’m also currently smack-dab in the middle of it with my youngest. The thing that really amazes me is how striking some of the emotional developments can be that happen at this time in a child’s life.

Is this intensity of emotion simply a hormonal thing or is there something more to it? On top of this is it really such a bad thing when you also get sways into the extremes of more positive emotions? For example, mid-play they hurt themselves in a way that would have an adult swearing quite colourfully but because they’re being happy-go-lucky at this exact moment they bravely brush it off and just get on with things.

There’s a depth of emotion there and a broadening of their emotional range that you don’t see in any other group of people other than teenagers (and perhaps artists).

Pretend play with a pre-schooler can be an immersive and surprising experience, watching them demonstrate at one moment a gentleness of character and at the next a boldness of spirit that allows them to challenge their fears/ an authority figure in order to get the right thing done. Children at this age can have a fairly unremarkable vocabulary but they make up for this in droves with dynamic, evolving personalities and an unmatchable range of emotions.

Thaaars a storm a brewin’ in that thar little person!

What are your experiences of a pre-schooler’s emotional character? Is there anything that’s just surprised you as you watched it unfold? I remember playing knights and castles with Logan years ago and popping in some elements into the game that subtly showed discrimination in action when an Ork toy was unfairly treated by ‘brave’ knights. After a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit of thought a giant pre-schooler joined the game and smashed the knights away to keep the Ork safe from harm. Ever since then ‘Ork’ has been a gentle giant, protecting castles (and occasionally boys with nightmares) from harm. The emotional understanding of a pre-schooler should never be underestimated, they pick up on an awful lot!

As always thanks for reading and feel free to share pre-schooler surprise stories below in the comments. I’ve recently started work on a book about childhood, toys and how play shapes the adults we become so I welcome any anecdotes etc. that I could pass on in the book (though if you’d rather they weren’t in the book let me know and I’ll be sure to avoid referencing them). All the best, John


20 comments on “A Storm a Brewing!

  1. It has been my experience, in my own classroom, that if a child doesn’t have the required unconditional love of their parent/caregiver then nothing I try to teach through play will be well received, until I have met that need for them. I know it sounds clichΓ©, but first and foremost they need our love and attention. Learning stems from a place of security. However, I was a child who learned through survival, but as we all know growing up that way tends to leave negative and sometimes lasting effect.

    Some of the toddlers I’ve worked with in the past have enjoyed the act of spraying water onto a mirror, squeegeeing it off and then drying the mirror. I use a large mirror along the bottom of my wall which is perfect for their eye level. They do this over and over again, while feeling quite accomplished. Great for fine motor, problem solving and feeling “big”. Bathtubs for washing muddy baby dolls, and dishes also builds confidence. Moving sand from one spot to another using shovels and buckets keeps those sweet energetic boys busy too. πŸ™‚


    • John says:

      It always surprises me to see how much my two enjoy ‘housework’ feeling grown up is definitely a big factor in driving learning. Sometimes a bit sad to see how quick some kids are to push being ‘grown up’ to its limits though. They can also act as little mirrors showing us what the behavior of us ‘grown-ups’ looks like to them. πŸ™‚


  2. ksbeth says:

    play is their rehearsal for real life. it is a safe way to practice with minimal consequences, so important. see what works, what doesn’t. role play, compromise, share, take turns, listen, respond, act.


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