The right time to seek out therapy is a question parents commonly struggle with. Due to the many stages and changes that children go through, sometimes adverse behaviors observed at one point seem to resolve themselves as time passes. Others seem to linger in milder form waiting for one of lives many inevitable triggers.
Some of these triggers include beginning a new school, transitioning from Pre-K to kindergarten, welcoming a new sibling into the home, or moving to a new home/area. Some triggers, which would not necessarily be considered inevitable but affect a large percentage of the population include divorce/separation, death in the family, self-doubt, extreme fear over objects or situations, and witnessing of a traumatic situation. Due to the fact that children use behavior as a communication tool, a child’s response to such things/events will often be observable.
Common adverse behaviors that parents report observing include hyperactivity, low frustration tolerance, crying often, not crying at all, difficulty focusing, and hyper focusing on pleasurable activities. What makes my job so fun is that no two children are alike! Normal for one child may not be normal for another. The way one child responds to an event will be different from another, and yet another.
This is where play therapy can prove to be so useful! Play is a child’s universal language!
In short, there really is no black and white answer to when it is a good idea to reach out and explore play therapy. It could be helpful to observe how your child’s struggles are affecting their daily life, relationships (at school or at home), academics, and activities. Some parents question at intake, if they are making a bigger deal out of something that is “normal” behavior. Normal is such a spectrum that really all that is needed is a parent’s intuition that something may not be right.
Trusting your parental instinct and not fearing the idea of being proactive is important. If you would like to read more about the benefits that play therapy can offer your child, I encourage you to follow this link to the Association of Play Therapy’s website: https://a4pt.site-ym.com/?PTMakesADifference.
If you are still unsure if play therapy is what your child needs at the time, do not be afraid to reach out to your local play therapist. Play does make a difference.