When I was a child, I remember that I always imagined my towel as a glorious cape. I also use a rubber band and my index finger as a gun. While it sounds so childish, did you know that it is a good thing to let your kids play dress up?
Dr. Laurie Zelinger, a licensed child psychologist said that by playing dress-up, we are letting our child foster their own imaginative process; by doing that, we are allowing them to play without the help of rules and scripts. When we let our kids do experiment and role play, we can actually see if there is any inner conflict or trauma on the kids.
Dress Up Play should not be limited to Halloween
While it is always the easiest to let your kids play dress up during Halloween, it should not be the only time they could experience being a different person. When kids are in their early years, usually, they are at the age of make-believe. They might want to be a certain superhero at one time, and a firefighter at another.
By letting your kids play dress up, we are letting their brains and ideas to be as flexible as possible, and that is an amazing thing. As parents, what we should do is just to enjoy the phase as it lasts.
Dress Up Play as a Medium for Children’s Development
What many people did not know is by letting your kids play dress up, you are letting them learn a few things, and those are:
As a parent, we might see our kids playing dress-up as a way for them to have fun and take on other people’s identity. However, try to consider how complex it is for a child between 3 to 5 years old to stay in character and role-play as a different person.
By role-playing and playing dress-up, your kids will be able to practice how to self-regulate. They will try their best to limit their actions only to the characters they are playing. Not only their actions, but sometimes our kids might also mimic the way their characters speak.
Role Identity and Empathy Learning
When kids are in their 3rd to 5th years, they are still in the phase of finding where in the world they belong. They will be considering whether they are kind or harsh; good vs evil; even whether they are a teacher or a student. By letting your kids play dress up, you are letting them understand role identity and learn to understand other people’s feelings and characters.
“But costumes are expensive!”
And we have good news for you! You don’t have to buy expensive costumes or toys in order to let your kids play dress up at home. You can let your kids use their imagination and play with the items at home. As an example, you could let them use their bath towel as a cape so they became a superhero, a turban, or any other type of clothes.
Remember, the costumes and clothes do not make your kids play dress up. The most important part is by letting your kids experiment with a lot of characters and train their imagination to the best it can be. Happy playing!