Play develops self-worth

This may sound complicated, but wherever self-worth is fundamentally good, self-confidence is often best when it accompanies self-worth. Therefore, my best advice is to play as much as you can with your children. Go out in the woods, on the beach, in your yard, and in all sorts of places where the child feels happy, but also in places that provide opportunities to be curious, to use their imagination and test out their zone of proximal development.  

The three major benefits of free play are:

1. Children learn to cope with stress and be more resilient. They test themselves to see how much stress they can handle and this makes them better at coping with stress later in life.  

2. They learn self-control. Children who play with other children really want to keep the game going. That means that even if there are difficult kids or the rules have to be negotiated and re-negotiated, they need to practice self-control (a valuable life skill) to stay in the game.

3. They are learning! Especially when there are kids of different ages. Play is teaching them so much. This has been overlooked in many countries-how much kids actually learn on their own, because it isn´t measurable right away.

These little tips are sure to help you promote greater independence in your child, which will equip them to a greater extent for whatever bumps they might encounter on their journey.


Iben Sandahl is the author of The Danish Way Of Parenting: A Guide To Raising The Happiest Kids in the World. She is a professional parenting expert, narrative psychotherapist MPF, family counselor, teacher and speaker. She has more than 20 years of experienced insight into child psychology and education, which in a most natural way anchor the Danish way of practicing parenthood. You can follow Iben’s Facebook page or Instagram for more inspiration about parenting.