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27 Jan, Friday
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Montreal Families

Understanding kids’ play during pandemic

The past year has been full of unknowns and heightened anxiety for parents and children. A global health crisis is hard enough for adults to understand; for some children, it’s overwhelming.

Parents may have noticed their kids’ behaviour and emotions fluctuate throughout the pandemic —  from the early days when their regular activities tumbled one-by-one — to now, over a year later. Kids’ play and their social interactions have also changed dramatically. Over the months, some kids have tried making sense of their new normal through acting out doctor and hospital with their stuffed animals, while others have built COVID survival shelters out of snow. Watching their children’s pretend play may be concerning for some parents. I know I’ve had questions over the last year: Is what/how/where they’re playing…ok?

A new workshop presented by Collective Community Services (CCS) and hosted by Montreal-based play experts The Lion and The Mouse (Le lion et la souris) aims to help parents and caregivers deepen their understanding of children’s play. Playing in the Red Zone: Supporting Children’s Play in the COVID-19 Pandemic will offer insight, strategies, and discussions in supporting children’s play during a crisis.

The workshop is also meant to alleviate some of the stresses that parents face, without adding on more work for them. “Children might need support and help with play…but it doesn’t have to be another thing that parents have to do,” says Megan Cohoe-Kenney, Childhood Development Project Coordinator at CCS. “Play can be inside, it can be outside. Free play is actually very low intervention and it should be something where kids have the space to navigate on their own.”

Cohoe-Kenney notes that play — especially unstructured free play —can help children work through some of the hard things that they’re living. “Kids learn through play. It’s a stress reliever, it’s mental health and physical health. It’s endorphins.”

She says that since the start of the pandemic, they’ve witnessed how children’s opportunities to play have been reduced, and play has changed and shifted. “There’s going to be play emerging that parents might not feel comfortable with, but play is also therapy for kids; working through a lot of these situations that they don’t totally understand.”

The workshop takes place on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. From 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

To take part, follow this link to register: https://playing-in-the-red-zonewebinar.eventbrite.ca

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