Boys are playful. They love to have fun with both friends and family. Play is essential to the development of self-esteem and confidence. Through play, boys find out who they are, because through the choices they make about what to play or do, who to play with, what to draw, and so on, they gradually flesh out their self-concept and gain an identity, two essential prerequisites for acquiring self-esteem. Through play, boys also discover what they can do, because play develops verbal, social, manual, planning, problem-solving, negotiation and physical skills, which enhance their self-confidence and their ability to socialize and make friends.
If you are a parent:
* Encourage your son to play with you, with his friends, on his own, indoors and outdoors
* Let him choose what to play most of the time
* Respect his play by giving him notice of when he must stop, and by not spoiling his fantasies with teasing or ridicule
* Pretending, dressing up, drawing and creative games are just as important for boys as for girls and allow them to become spontaneous, creative and imaginative, all of which help them to do well at school
* Get involved in his computer games – it’s the way of the future
If you are a teacher:
* Show respect for students’ hobbies and interests; utilize these for individual presentations and projects
* Role-play and improvisation can be fun and can provide a great release for boys – giving quiet ones a more assertive role or more ebullient ones a lesser or subservient role
* Though play is important, there are times when it is appropriate or must stop; wind-down time after breaks can help to mark boundaries
* Respect younger boys’ action play, because there is often more of a story line than first appears
Finally, through safely managed, independent play, boys gradually realize that they can manage on their own.