The game is called “What If.” It is a game that sparks children’s imaginations, sharpens their brains, prepares them for new experiences, and is just plain fun. You can play What If about all sorts of things – upcoming fun things like a vacation, scary things like a trip to a new doctor, curious things like other countries, or recent not-so-good experiences like a fight with a friend.
You can play What IF anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. No equipment is needed other than brains and willingness to use them.
All you have to do is ask a “What If” question and let your child imagine himself in that situation. For example:
What if we went to Disneyland?
What if you and your best friend had a fight?
What if we moved to Australia?
What if you had to go to a new school?
By listening to your child’s answers you can learn how he feels about the situation, what he likes or doesn’t like about it, what to expect of him in the situation, and what you might do to help him handle the situation. Your job is to listen and learn, not to tell him what he should think or feel about the situation.
One parent told me that her child loved the game so much that it tired out her (the parent’s) brain long before her child was tired of the game. Her advice was: “Put a time limit on the game or agree that if one person is ready to stop, then the game ends until the next time.”