It can be a challenging prospect, that of raising a child. When, every moment of the day, your toddler wants to sit in your lap, is running around, and wanting to spend every given moment with you, it can be taxing, to say the least. Whereas, someone loving you to that extent does make you feel very special, when there's things around the house that legitimately need to get done, it's not easy!
Entertaining themselves independently, or playing alone, is something that, when taught at a young age, can benefit both the child and the parent. As early as just a few months old, you can start teaching your child independent play. If, at two months old, for 15 minutes, you encourage them to play with their infant activity center, they may be playing for an hour every morning in their playpen – all by themselves – by nine months old.
INDEPENDENT PLAY IS A GOOD THING
It gives kids an opportunity to problem solve, when independent play is in effect, using their own toys. Without help, children need to be able to solve the problem of a toy that doesn't work the way they want it to (or something that simply doesn't work) without getting completely frustrated.
Additionally, creativity is encouraged by independent play. Your child will play with a limited number of toys in a creative way for an hour or more, provided they find creative ways in which to do so.
But wait, there's more. During independent play, children develop the ability to focus skills. Without moving from task to task, for a given amount of time, a child will learn how to focus on a particular group of toys when playing alone.
Independence is fostered when a child plays alone. Throughout adulthood, they will be able to apply lessons learned – independence, focusing skills, creativity, and problem-solving – through independent plan.
Now, how do you get your toddler to do that?
ENCOURAGING INDEPENDENT PLAY IN TODDLERS
By no means is this the easy part, and encouraging change is bound to be a struggle, particularly with a strong-willed toddler. To better your chances at success, keep it simple. Here are some tips:
- Set a timer after putting your toddler in a room alone – even if it's just for five minutes (at first). It's entirely possible that your child will scream the entire time, but you have to start somewhere. Of course, you're right outside the door, but they don't know that. Your goal is one hour of alone time every morning.
- Discuss, as much as possible, playing alone with your toddler – again, change is not easy, particularly for toddlers, so try to explain (in terms they'll understand) what independent play is all about and how you're going to go about encouraging it.
- Childproof the room your toddler will be in – remove any toys that might present a choking hazard. Put away all electrical cords and cover outlets. Make sure that heavy, tippable furniture is bolted to the wall.
A FEW MORE SUGGESTIONS
- Encourage quiet play with your child, with just a couple of toys at a time, letting them take the lead. Interfere as little as possible.
- When you see appropriate, independent play, let it go for as long as your child remains entertained. This is what you're working toward, so don't discourage it.
- Separate rooms are a must if you're encouraging independent play with more than one child in the home. One child in the living room and the other in the backyard is just one suggestion.
KIDPOWERED HAS TOYS FOR INDEPENDENT PLAY
With the wide selection of toys available at Kidpowered, there is bound to be one or more that interest your child and encourage them to play by themselves. Whether your child is into dinosaurs, games, pretends to be a princess, enjoys emergency vehicles, or some other theme, there are toys representing almost every walk of life, animal, occupation, etc. at Kidpowered.