Playing COVID

Source: TODAY Illustration — Getty Images,

Did you know that one of the healthiest ways our children deal with their fears is through pretend play? This has always been the case. Whether it’s playing with weapons, dawning super powers, or overcoming the most difficult obstacles like illness and death, our children work through their worries and fears by acting out what it must be like to deal with mortal challenges and defeat them. As they do, they build up their reserves of resilience. They also make meaning of the worries and fears they feel but may not fully understand from the adults in their environment.

Through the experience of conquering their fears through play, they rehearse vital social and emotional skills like self-awareness (recognizing what they are thinking and feeling), social awareness (understanding what others are thinking and feeling), self-management (discovering ways to overcome that obstacle), relationships skills (if they are playing with a sibling or friend, they learn negotiation, cooperative problem-solving and collaboration), and finally responsible decision-making (as they make choices about how they will face complex problems with decisions that help and not harm like the girl vaccinating her teddy bear shown above).

CPCK’s Jennifer Miller was interviewed for the following article with regular partner TODAY Parenting by writer Lisa Tolin. Here’s how it begins:

Chelsea Carr is good and vaccinated — she’s gotten a dose of Johnson & Johnson, and many more pretend shots from her 2-year-old daughter.

“My daughter gives me COVID shots with the fake syringe in her doctor’s kit. I’ve probably had at least 20 injections so far,” said Carr, a mother of two in Maryland.

A number of children are incorporating COVID-19 into their play, according to parents, teachers and psychologists. Children create scenarios where they pretend to care for others with COVID, get sick, or even die.


Kids Are Playing COVID: Why It’s A Good Thing

Thanks Lisa Tolin and TODAY Parenting for the opportunity to contribute!

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