Teaching Neurodiverse Children Emotional IQ Through Playful Connection

The best time to teach a skill isn’t when we are requiring it of our child, but rather through playful connection moments. 

Play is like a bridge between a child’s world and an adult’s world.

When we jump in and join their play on their terms, our worlds mesh and our children are allowed to express themselves in ways that access their higher brain, affording them the opportunity to learn through play.

Because neurodiverse children sometimes struggle with different areas of play, you may have difficulty finding ways to interact with and relate to your neurodiverse children during reciprocal, symbolic, or turn-taking experiences. If you're struggling with this, we want to share with you the tools to engage your children during these interactions. 

The key is to follow your child’s lead and choose activities that match their zone of proximal development. Rather than matching your child’s age level, focus on the cognitive, motor, and emotional levels of your child and meet them there. So, when your child initiates, match or imitate their level of play. 

As parents we tend to put pressure on ourselves and our kids when it comes to play and learning. You may have thought:

  • “How can we create the perfect play experience?” 
  • “How do I teach my kids to share and co-exist with others peacefully?” 
  • “Are my kids meeting educational and developmental benchmarks?”

When we step back, we actually see that children are wired to learn through play.

Play is the foundation to all learning. It really is like the glue that holds everything together. And from this foundation, we can build a strong house of higher learning. 

Head on over to this month's collaborative blog post on Generation Mindful to learn about Building Emotional-Intelligence Through Play. On the blog post, you will find out how play builds social-emotional skills and some specific games and activities for you to do with your children!

Together we are following my  12 month Make It Simple, Make It Stick calendar with activities that you can use in your home. This month, we’re focused on play!



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