Going to a play therapist can be quite fun for a child, especially when they learn there are toys involved. Not to mention, they can do whatever they like in the playroom--within limits. But the first visit can be scary and anxiety inducing.
You as a parent can do the following to ensure that every session in the playroom is as productive and as positive of an experience for your child as possible.
1. Bathroom Break
It is important that your child take their bathroom break before coming into the playroom. This is their special time and you want to make sure your child is getting the most out of their sessions. A quick bathroom break can eat up almost half of a play session with some kids.
2. Make sure your child has a moment to breathe.
A well rested child can focus on the task at hand, and are more well-behaved. This can be a difficult tip to accomplish sometimes. Kids have stressful days at school. Exhausting after-school soccer or dance practice. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are giving your child a moment to breathe before rushing them off to their play therapy appointment.
I am always mindful that my clients often need a moment to decompress from the stresses of the outside world at the start of each session. But when the time it takes to decompress takes longer and longer, it is a red flag to me that your child is not getting a proper break to regroup.
3. Make sure your child has a light snack.
Afternoon sessions are popular with parents as they are able to get off work to bring their children in after school has ended. However, it's important that children have a light snack before coming in. We all know how hard it is to concentrate on an empty stomach. I keep a few snacks around for those times when kids come to the office and have not eaten anything.
4. Prepare your child for their first visit.
Talking to your child before their first scheduled intake can go a long way in helping to reduce their anxiety. This practice can go a long way in making a smooth transition into the play therapy process.
5. Alert me of any issues at home, school, or elsewhere as they occur.
The better informed I am of any new issues, the quicker we can work together as a team to help your children cope and resolve them.
6. Remember to schedule your next appointment.
Whether you do it in office or online, remember to book your next appointment. 9 times out of 10, that convenient time for you is also convenient for someone else.
7. Practice full disclosure.
Please do not hold back information because you feel it's not that big of a deal. The slightest change in your child's life may seem insignificant to you, but may be a major shift in the child's worldview. This includes past events that you are hesitant to share because they may be difficult to disclose--those are often the most important to share. A well informed practitioner can led to better client care.