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CAN CHILDREN PLAY IN HOSPITAL?We may think that when children are ill, they will neither have the strength nor the inclination to play..., that the hospital is not the most suitable place to play..., that as they have to stay in bed, they will not be able to play as they normally do..., that the hospital atmosphere does not lend itself to play... or that the priority is medical treatment and physical needs rather than emotional and psychological ones. But nothing could be further from the truth. We are talking about an environment in which the need to play, an essential activity for the child's physical health and psychological development, becomes more necessary than ever. Like any creative activity, play generates emotional satisfaction and self-confidence, and therefore should be regarded as the therapeutic activity par excellence. Symbolic play can help hospitalised children to understand, accept and alleviate their current state. It helps them to maintain a sense of control over the prevailing environment, enabling them to express their feelings, release emotional tension and therefore, anxiety and stress. It is the best way for the child to accept and accommodate the hospital environment. Play helps the child to channel aggression and face fears, as well as boosting self-esteem and self-confidence.
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