The games kids play

Every time our family walks somewhere, my son, 4, wants to play the “bus game.” He is the bus driver. Mommy and Daddy are the passengers, and we have a lot of rules to follow. If we don’t get off at the right stop, for example, the bus driver gets a little bossy.

So why do some kids like to play the same game over and over?

Marsha Gerdes, a early childhood development expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said the answer depends on the child and his environment.

“If he is the driver, he may be practicing what he thinks of as adult skills,” she said.

Reptition, she said, helps children build self-confience and self-esteem.

And sometimes, children may be seeking to snatch back a little of the control that adults so often exert on them.

Sometimes, even a lot of questions like asking children to identify colors and letters can seem controlling.

“When you think about 3 and 4 year olds, much of their world is adult directed. Play time is really, purely child led,” Gerdes said.

If your child’s game or other repetitive behavior is making you a little crazy, you can try things like suggesting that you will play the game for five minutes and then do something else.
And if the behavior worries you, discuss it with your pediatrician.
“Often times with behaviors or play, there is not just one single rule of thumb about it,” she said.
Does your child have an activity she likes to do all the time? If so, what is it, and why do you think she likes it so much? Share in the comments below or e-mail me at hillmb@phillynews.com.

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