Fighting dragons, talking to bears, battling villains, saving the world, climbing aboard pirate ships. The possibilities were endless.
Imaginary adventures and jumping into role were the norm. The ability to lead the play, or follow the lead of someone else. Using voices and expression to make our characters come to life. A plethora of imaginary friends.
It was play.
It was adventure.
It was FUN.
Then, something unexpected happened. Our adventurous, creative, bold little boy with a big imagination endured a complete emotional turmoil through 6 months of school. As mentioned in previous posts, he developed some anxieties and became a shadow of himself. Read more about this by clicking HERE.
Since we have had him back at home he has been reluctant to say the least. Unwilling to suspend his disbelief, not wanting to ‘look silly’ or get it wrong and boisterously trying to manipulate the play to follow and fit into certain rules set by himself.
This came as a bit of a shock to us, as we both have a drama and performance background and have always encouraged him in this area. To play, to imagine, to create and to dream.
Our 2 year old has an incredible imagination and his play often amazes us; how much he understands and how accurately he conveys emotions through his role play. This has caused issues between the two boys whilst engaging in play together and many times it has ended in raised voices and tears.
Fast forward 3 months of home education and I am so happy to say that we are beginning to see glimmers of his imagination bubbling up and returning. Pretending, initiating play and talking to puppets as if they are real. He even went to Asda a few days ago caped up as a superhero and didn’t even think twice about anyone looking at him.
This may sound small and may even be the norm for you and your children, but for us, this is a huge turning point.
I remember one particularly cold day at school where he didn’t want to wear a bobble hat in case the grown ups looked at him. Non-uniform days caused him to panic and the Christmas play brought on so much stress and worry. He wanted to blend in. To be unseen. To hide.
I just pray that this courageous, adventure seeking, imaginative side to his personality sticks around now that he is shaking off the feeling of being watched and ridding himself of a self-consciousness I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, let alone a four year old. I hope it grows again like a watered seed inside his soul, allowing him to feel free, to be creative and to PLAY!
I have written this because I know we can’t be the only ones and I want to offer hope to anyone in the same boat. There were days when I wept for him. When I could see the inner turmoil written all over his face in a mellow sadness. But here we are, rejoicing in the small moments and seeing our little boy growing in confidence and learning to be free.
Not every day is easy or perfect and we still have our moments when he expresses his feelings through certain challenging behaviours, but we are getting there and we are hopeful.
If any of this resonates with you, please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!
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