Los vínculos familiares se fortalecen cuando se juega junto con los papás, la abuela o los hermanos...
Gilvan David

Brasil / Sociedad – “Jugar es ganar tiempo, habilidades, calidad de vida, inteligencia... Jugar es sólo ganancia”, sostiene Marilena Flora Martins, presidenta de la Asociación Brasileña para el Derecho a Jugar, entidad afiliada a la International Association for the Child’s Right to Play (Asociación Internacional por el Derecho de los Niños a Jugar).

¿Cuál es la función del juego en el desarrollo infantil?

Para los niños es la manera como se comunican con el mundo y se apropian de él. El ambiente es el gran promotor del desarrollo infantil. Si es un ambiente positivo, estimulante, donde hay afecto y desafíos, en el que los niños puedan vivir situaciones agradables y placenteras, ese desarrollo será saludable. En cambio, donde hay negligencia, violencia, ausencia de estímulos, como sucede con niños pequeños que quedan mucho tiempo en la cuna o en el corralito, en casa o en instituciones, tendremos conflictos que pueden traer serios problemas en el futuro.

¿Qué tipo de estímulos son necesarios?

Dependen de las edades y de la etapa de desarrollo del niño. Los más pequeños, hasta los tres años de edad, se comunican mucho a través de los sentidos (oído, olfato, tacto). Los estímulos que éstos despiertan son muy importantes para esa etapa de la vida. Tocar diferentes texturas, oír melodías o sonidos suaves, percibir formas, objetos. Entre los cuatro y cinco años entran en la fase de los simbolismos, de la imaginación, de la fantasía. Ahí son importantes los cuentos, como los de hadas, etc., leerles historias. No es que no sea importante también para los bebés —los hay para ellos y con ilustraciones que ellos tocan mientras uno va contando la historia—. Ese contacto, esa complicidad con los adultos es importante para los niños. Y debe darse siempre en forma liviana, placentera, porque jugar es una alegría.

¿El juego puede ser también un motivo de tristeza?

Sí, porque también es un momento en el que el niño libera sus dificultades, sus emociones negativas; hay que lidiar con sus frustraciones cuando, por ejemplo, pierde en el juego. Por lo tanto a veces no es tan placentero. Eso es fundamental. Cuando el niño puede vivenciar la rabia o la tristeza se libera de ellas, así como incorpora la alegría al expresarla. El juego es la mejor manera de trabajar las emociones de los niños.

¿Eso tiene efectos sobre la inteligencia?

El juego es interactivo, supone el contacto con otro, el mirarse, hablarse, tocarse... por lo tanto reciben estímulos. Es diferente a quedarse frente al televisor o a un juego electrónico que, a mi entender, no estimulan suficientemente la inteligencia, sobre todo la de los más pequeños. Según algunas investigaciones, un niño de hasta tres años que transcurra demasiado tiempo frente al televisor deja de aprender 77 vocablos por hora, cantidad que más o menos aprende al interactuar con otro niño.

¿Qué pasa si son niños de edades diferentes?

A veces los padres se preocupan por eso, pero la verdad es que los más pequeños se sienten estimulados a enfrentar desafíos si tienen la ayuda de un niño mayor. A su vez, éste se siente protector y desarrolla su capacidad de cuidar de otros. Este último aspecto es muy importante, porque a futuro nos hace mejores adultos.

Es bueno que en ese momento el adulto esté presente, aunque es preferible que no interfiera; su rol debe ser de vigilancia, debe intervenir sólo si el juego provoca un conflicto grave o agresiones.

¿Cómo ayudar a los niños a emplear bien su tiempo?

Sabiendo que es su tiempo, no el nuestro: si se quieren quedar sin hacer nada tienen que ser respetados en eso. Es el momento en que están procesando las informaciones recibidas. Precisan de momentos de paz, de aislamiento para reflexionar, pensar, imaginar. Los adultos arman agendas de ejecutivos para los niños: la hora de inglés, la de música, luego natación, refuerzo escolar... ¿qué pensará ese niño o esa niña de todo eso? ¿En qué momento podrá estar sin hacer nada? Los niños hoy contraen enfermedades propias de los adultos: obesidad, hipertensión, diabetes, estrés... y conductas violentas. Juegan poco en contacto con la naturaleza.

Esta falta de contacto con la naturaleza es un tema serio...

Según el investigador norteamericano Richard Louv, autor de El último niño en los bosques, los niños están desarrollando un “déficit de naturaleza” que luego provoca flaqueza muscular, problemas en las articulaciones, precisamente porque no corren sobre superficies irregulares, no saltan, no trepan. Y acaban teniendo problemas de comportamiento por una energía contenida que no puede manifestarse. Además son menos creativos. Cuando no se ofrece un desafío o un riesgo controlado —“ojo que por allí te puedes caer”; “¡atento!, allí es peligroso”—, el niño no desarrolla la capacidad de asumir riesgos, queda demasiado contenido y se torna apático, tímido, miedoso.

¿Cuáles son las ventajas para el adulto que se pone a jugar con los niños?

Todos necesitamos de afecto. Y jugar es una demostración de afecto incondicional... mutuo. El adulto entra así en contacto con su niño interior, un lado que nunca envejece. Los vínculos familiares se fortalecen cuando se juega junto con los papás, la abuela o los hermanos... a lo que sea, la mancha, tuttifrutti, etc. Las familias que desarrollan este tipo de vínculos tienden a permanecer ligadas durante toda la vida. Aunque, luego, ese niño crecido ya no tenga más a sus padres o a los abuelos, igualmente tendrá buenos recuerdos, “archivos positivos” a los que recurrirá para afrontar alguna situación difícil y donde encontrará las fuerzas para seguir adelante. El juego en el adulto hace que recupere sus energías y fortalezas, su capacidad de establecer vínculos por intermedio de los afectos que da y al mismo tiempo recibe del niño.

__________

Gilvan David. Entrevista publicada en revista Ciudad Nueva, www.ciudadnueva.org.ar


 
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