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Imaginative role-play is a fantastic way for a child to understand the world around them.
Your child might have been to the doctor, dentist or hospital for a check-up, or seen something on TV. When a child plays with a soft toy or doll they can often take on the adult role and invent games around what they have experienced themselves. Pretending to be the doctor or nurse, they can reassure the doll or teddy that "everything will be alright" or "be brave".
You can buy toy medical sets that usually include a stethoscope (for listening to heart beats), a pretend thermometer (for taking body temperature) and a syringe (for injections). You can have a scarf ready to make a sling, or some sticking plasters on standby.
Next time you go to a doctor or to hospital, notice with your child what the medical staff say and do, and copy them later in play.
One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond. "Pretend play" is important for developing your child's language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.
Spending time playing with your child is a great way of helping them learn. Games like "Simon says" and "One, two, three red lights" are great fun. There are lots of activities you can do like playing card games or board games when you can have a quiet time together. Your child can learn the rules by watching a dry run first. Then you can play for real. An important thing to learn is that you don't always win. It can be good for young children to win, to give them confidence but learning to lose is important too. There will be many times in life when you don't win and learning to cope with that is a good life skill you can teach your child too.
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