My girls love imagination play. They make up intricate stories and become the characters. Orange socks become flamingo feet, scarves shoved down their pants become tails, nappies on their head become their alien headwear.
I love it because it means they are not afraid to think outside the square. It shows me they are resourceful and creative. It also means they are not asking me for something to eat.
Miss 5: “OK, you’re a unicorn and can’t walk so you have to use a wheelchair.”
Miss 3: *slides into the room on her belly*
MIss 5: “No, that’s not right come with me”.
Miss 5: *comes back into room dragging a blanket with Miss 3 perched on a tiny pink chair*
Lately the stories and songs have become a little more macabre than usual. There’s a lot of death.
In the bath they sing: “We’re going to drown, drown, drown, drown, drown”.
In the car they sing: “We’re going to die, die, die, die, die”.
Then there’s the often played-out storyline.
Miss 5: “OK, you’re a dog and I’m a cat and I’m your Mum and you’re just lying there dead and then I want to go to the shops so you’re not dead anymore.”
I don’t think we’ve even talked to the kids about death, so I can only imagine they are hearing about it on television or at school. We’ve banned the “die song” and the “drown song”. They think it’s funny, they don’t get the finality. I hope they don’t have to for a long time.
Do your kids make up elaborate stories? Do they play dead in their stories? How do you react?
Children play for lots of reasons. One is to sort out what they know, and how they understand concepts. Concepts like death. Even though they do not understand the finality of it, they are working through what they know about death and how it fits in to their world.
As parents we can find it confronting when we hear our young children playing out scenarios around death, but it is normal. It is a part of childhood, even if death has not been something your children have been directly exposed to.
Often through play children sort out their fears, concerns and are able to have a sense of power over things. It’s often the case with play around death, or guns.
If it was my children, I’d let them keep playing. Ok, the songs are a bit much to hear, but I’d explain why you don’t like the songs, in terms they can understand.
If you ask me, death should not be an off limits topic – it is a part of being human, we all need to deal with it whether it be a pet, a friend, a family member, and in my opinion, better to be able to talk about it than bottle it all up.
Your girls are being normal children by playing this way. They are gorgeous beyond words.
And now I’ll take of my ECE hat, stop yabbering and have another glass of wine.
Thanks for such a wonderful comment – you’ve really helped me to understand this fascination they’ve suddenly developed. We still let them play the games because they shouldn’t be ignorant about the issue, it’s the songs that we can’t stand. Actually a lot of their songs at the moment are hard to listen – there’s also they the “I’m doing a pop off, pop off, fart, fart, wee on your head” song which has also been banned!!
I hope your enjoyed your next glass of wine and the one after that! xx