How Can Play Therapy Help Kids & Toddlers Deal With Aggression? We live in a culture inundated with violent images, be it in cinema, the virtual world, or in real life.
These images often induce feelings of aggression, often in kids and toddlers, which leads parents to worry about their children and how it shapes their behaviour.
Being open to the elements such as violent images or interacting with a violent computer or video game can increase the label of aggressive behaviour in kids and toddlers.
However, it is notable that children who are not exposed to violent imagery on television or online games can also be aggressive. Whatever may be the reason; all kids have the potential to act aggressively, as it is one of the intrinsic parts of the human nature.
This makes it crucial for all parents to monitor and intervene in these activities and help them shed those negative behavioural emotions. That is where play therapy comes in.
Why do kids get aggressive?
There are so many reasons for aggression in kids, including psychiatric conditions, medical problems, and life circumstances. Parents often have to deal with tantrums, meltdowns, and freak-outs. When that happens, it is necessary to help your kid learn and master self-control.
Experts say that kids usually resort to physical expressions of their frustration, solely because they don’t have the language skills to convey themselves.
However, by the age of 7, your child should be able to have ample verbal skills to share their feelings and physical expressions of aggression should be declining.
If it doesn’t happen and your child is putting themselves or others in danger or is regularly damaging property, you need to seek solutions.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is where a therapist uses play, toys, and games to help the child search, communicate, and safely experience the complexities they are working through.
Child psychologists and psychiatrists believe that play therapy is an ideal solution to deal with kids and toddlers with aggression. Play therapy can help teach social skills, calm anxiety, and improve self-esteem in kids with ADHD and related conditions.
The play has been used as an alternative therapy tool for a long time to treat symptoms of children with problems. Playtime can be used for children to connect, learn, calm anxiety, provide reassurance and steer them towards empowering emotions rather than engaging in aggression.
Equally, play is a great way to understand children’s perceptions, cognitions, and behaviours. Therapists can observe children’s attempts during play, where play therapy can help them behave more adaptively and learn new ways to solve problems or process past trauma.
How does play therapy work?
Play therapy works on associations and understanding that create positive changes in the brain. These changes pave the way for better comprehension and more ductile behaviours.
Each session lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. During the session, the child is taken to a playroom, asked to explore some age-appropriate toys, and express their emotions through play or drawing.
This technique works brilliantly. Evidently, children with family conflicts may draw pictures of a happy family; kids who have to conduct troubles may choose a gun to shoot a doll or mimic acts of violence using provided toys. Sometimes, the therapists choose to do group sessions, depending on the child’s requirements.
Group therapy sessions involve the child playing with other kids of a similar age group, or with their own family. It helps in better understanding the root problem and formulating informative guidelines to help guide the kid away from aggression.
Play therapy techniques for an aggressive kid
Play therapy can help clients get into a more comfortable situation where they are willing to express their feelings. There are so many techniques that therapists use to guide the play with a particular aim in mind.
The directive approach is structured and well-formed, while the nondirective way is less structured.
The therapists can indulge the kids and toddlers through various techniques that involve:
- Nondirective play therapy
- Puppets/doll house/other toys for pretend play
- Interpretation play for emotional content
- Directive play therapy
- Interpretation drawings for emotional content
- Drawing/painting for the purpose of emotional expression.
- Creative visualization
- Toy phones
- Stuffed animals
- Action figures
- Arts and crafts
- Water and sand play
- Blocks and construction toys
- Dance and creative movement
- and musical play
These are some of the play techniques that can help a child reach a calm state of mind that is away from aggressive feelings.
For child-centered play, play therapy uses various techniques such as representative toys, like dolls and hand puppets; toys for a play kitchen or grocery store; toys for pretend adventures, like toy soldiers and army equipment, zoo, and farm animals; and toys for creative, non-directed expression.
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How Can Play Therapy Help Kids & Toddlers Deal With Aggression?
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