We get it--raising little ones is a full-time job that requires all hands on deck, all the time. Finding a moment to relax, kick your feet up, and sip on a glass of your favorite mommy-juice feels impossible on some days. But if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that all parents out there deserve me-time. Independent play boosts creativity and confidence for babies and toddlers, and it gives mommies and daddies a break, if only for a few brief minutes. We’ve compiled a list of tips and advice that can help you promote independent play at home. You can thank us during your alone-time later!
Create A Safe Space
When any toddler plays solo, safety always comes first! Organize their play area to eliminate any potential dangers and in a way that is easy for a child to navigate without help. Color-coding storage bins and keeping them low to the ground is a great start. Also, it’s helpful to think about the kinds of toys that stock the play area. Make sure all the toys are age-appropriate, engaging, and easy for your child to understand without additional help.
Ease Into It
Some children may feel unsure about spending time by themselves or coming up with games to play alone. Independent play does not necessarily mean children need to be alone in the room. Start by sitting with your toddler and, as more focus is shifted from you to the activity, move to a chair across the room to give your little one space to play by themselves. Just like most things in parenthood, it’s all about baby steps!
Tune Into Your Child's Interests
We all know that entertaining children by themselves without any toys they’re interested in can only lead to two things--boredom or a tantrum, and sometimes both. Making sure your child’s play area has activities and toys your toddler is actually interested in is a must. Pay attention to what your child asks questions about or tends to talk about to give you ideas of what toys he or she would best engage with, especially when playing alone. Additionally, consider providing your child with versatile toys without a clear purpose for play, like pots or blocks, to encourage them to trust their interests and explore their creativity.
Encourage Your Child to Have Fun
Remember, independent play is really only successful if your child has fun while doing it. Pay attention to the way you encourage your child to play by themselves. Sometimes when we need a moment to ourselves, we tend to sound short or drained. Changing your tone of voice makes all the difference in encouraging your child to play by themselves and gives you that personal time you savor.
Need a moment? No sweat! With these tips, independent play is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
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