Not long ago we were walking down the street and Terrícola wanted to get into one of these cars in front of the shops, the typical ones that are given 1 euro, they move and music plays. He always climbs but I have never put a coin and he hardly knows that they work because, although it seems a miracle, he has never coincided seeing one in action.
Well, just this day another child comes and climbs next to him. The mother is going to put 1 euro and I was already thinking that from now on the little one would ask me to put money daily. But coincidences of life, just that car was damaged and did not move a bit.
Terrícola obviously did not care, he kept playing with the car, imagining that he was a firefighter, that he drove a garbage truck and went to work, that he did races, that he went out for a drive, etc. etc.
The mother of the other child tells her son to get out, that the car does not work. The little boy looks at Terrícola, absolutely amazed by his game and I read this question on his face: “Is the car really not working? It seems that it is going and very well, by the way ”. The mother insists, “get down, it’s not working, let’s find another one.” I see the doubts on the boy’s face again … but in the end he chooses to believe his mother and get out of the car.
And I kept reflecting … on how important everything we do as parents is, what we say and think and how sometimes, by not leaving our adult logic, we frustrate moments, games and crush their imagination … why our children idolize us and believe what we tell them.
WHY RESPECT THE IMAGINATION OF CHILDREN
Many articles talk about how to encourage the development of the imagination. But today I want to talk to you about how to respect it, why they really bring it as standard. More than favoring the imagination … it must be protected!
We live in a society that always thinks about “action”, about “doing”, teaching … and it is hard for us to think that many processes and learning happen by themselves . I did not teach my son to eat, or to walk, or to speak, the moment simply came and I marveled at his first steps, his first words.
With the imagination I feel that it is the same. It is not about teaching them to imagine, or preparing a thousand and one activities for them to do it (that does not mean that you cannot prepare an activity from time to time, if the children enjoy it, eh?), But I feel that in this particular case, that of the imagination … less is more. Fewer instructions on our part, less hyper-structured toys, less electronic gadgets… and there will be more and more imagination.
When external stimuli disappear, children have the opportunity for the game to be born from within. The imagination comes into action and together with all the experiences that this little one has lived, fantastic and amazing stories are born, sometimes without any meaning for us but for them, of course, they are vital. I wish a lot more toys and electronics would break down!
BUT WHY IS IMAGINATION SO IMPORTANT?
In childhood the imagination serves to:
- Recreate the world, understand day-to-day events and order them in a way that is understandable to a child’s mind.
- The imagination allows to lighten strong emotions and painful experiences. Because in the territory of fantasy things can change, mistakes that are too hard to assume may have been made by a doll, an imaginary friend …
- With it, the illusions and wishes of a child can be fulfilled, no matter how impossible.
- But for me, the most important and the one that accompanies us for life is that imagination allows us to envision new worlds, new uses of things, new ways of doing . First we imagine it, then we create it .
In the experience that I have told you, I wanted to tell that child that if he believed it, the car worked, that objects do not have a single use , each one makes them serve in the way that they contribute the most and finding those uses is basic for a healthy creative thinking that, in the future, really helps these children, now adults, to function in an increasingly changing world .
In this society, more than ever, it is vital to respect the imaginary world of children and their creativity. The world is no longer static, as the years go by, everything changes faster and the best way to help these little ones to function in a hectic world is to be creative and respect the development of their imagination .
HOW NOT TO CRUSH THE CHILD IMAGINATION
I am not a lover of magic recipes or advice, but I share with you what I try every day to make your fantasy fly free.
- Give space and free time . As simple as ensuring that there is time to do and undo as you want, without haste or recommendations.
- Sometimes disappear from your field of vision (do not overwatch). I at least have realized that when he does not see me … an amazing imaginary world parades through the dining room of the house.
- Try as long as possible without television, screens or toys that operate on batteries . Let him be the one who has to make the materials and toys within his reach interact.
- When you have a new toy don’t say how it works . Let him explore the possibilities he has for himself. I think it is important because according to the age of each child, their maturational development and their own interests, they will find the most appropriate use at that time. When the child grows and changes, so will the utility that he had given him and he will play differently with that material.
- Respect their ideas, ideas and solutions , even if you think there are better ways. After all, who decides what is better? And according to what parameters? In the story I told you at the beginning … Who was wrong? Did the car work or not?
Albert Einstein said that logic takes you from A to B, but imagination takes you everywhere . Let us adults try to park our logic and let the little ones travel where and how they want. With the imagination they will not need batteries, electricity or money .