Interacting with other adults helps parents understand what is normal development, build support and gain strategies to guide their children

It was a Friday night, and just not your normal Friday night, it was the evening of the Creative Play Place Halloween Party! I was coming into the Play Place with my two kids when we bumped into 5-year-old Charlie and his mom, Mary. Charlie (apparently a huge Halloween fan) had been anticipating this night for weeks. He’d been planning his costume and all the details, eagerly awaiting the Halloween party. He couldn’t wait to play with his friends, wear his cherished Star Wars storm trooper costume, dance to the fun music, eat the tasty treats, and of course, decorate pumpkins. Charlie’s mom, Mary, was excited for Charlie and happy to be able to spend a special evening together with him, but I could see that the nine-months-pregnant working mom was also feeling exhausted after a hectic week of work, hoping she could muster up enough energy to make sure Charlie had a fun night at the party.

Once inside the Play Place, the night took off. Charlie was having a blast dancing to the music and giggling with his friends over their crazy dance moves. After dancing, Charlie decided to grab a snack and head over to the table to decorate his pumpkin. Mary decided to join Charlie as they both worked together decorating the pumpkin. After an hour of decorating, the pumpkin was complete and both Mary and Charlie were happy with how it turned out. They gave each other a high five and then Charlie was off to participate in another activity. Too soon, it was time to go home, Charlie wasn’t at all ready to leave despite the fact that party was coming to an end. Mary called Charlie to come to the door to get his shoes on, but he didn’t want to leave. Eventually he came over to the door but was very upset and on the verge of a melt down. Mary, trying to be patient but completely wiped out from a busy week, was clearly at her whit’s end. Catherine, a Creative Play Place board member quickly stepped in. She was able to calm Charlie down with her sweet, comforting voice. She offered him a glow stick as a distraction, so that Mary could put his shoes on and gather their crafts. I could see the relief and gratitude on Mary’s face. Catherine’s kindness, quick reaction, and comfort to Charlie made for a better end to the evening.

As I reflected on Catherine’s help on the drive home, I could only smile feeling a sense of warmth from this community. Someone had reached out to them to help, to show kindness, and to give compassion to her situation. At a time where Mary needed someone, someone was there. A simple hand and a little teamwork went a long way. The Creative Play Place connects parents to other parents and supports them on their journey.

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    600 S 5th St Rm 127
    Saint Peter, MN 56082
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