HOW TO ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENT PLAY?
It’s literally not possible for you to be at your child’s side 24/7 – be it a working parent (going to office or a work from home parent) or a stay at home parent, it’s just not possible.
To encourage your child to play independently is much easier, we need to take care of a few things to be successful in this, and before you realise you will be enjoying your child’s independent play.
And if your wondering about how to foster independent play in your child, then this is definitely for you.
Key Pointers to Encourage Independent play
#1 Time of the day:
This is one of the most important pointers that one must know to encourage independent play and be successful.
The child will be fussy and in no good mood for play if not rested and fed well. So, it is important that the child is well-fed and well-rested. Apart from this, the time during the day matters, For us afternoons don’t really work well. Look into what time of the day works with your kids and go for it.
Also make sure that your independent play time doesn’t disturb other regular chores, because when your child is into some serious independent play, you can’t drag them out for a meal, or a nap – so figure it out and plan accordingly.
#2 The Toys:
Choosing versatile toys is another key to encourage independent play. The lesser the toy does the more the child will do.
Begin with open ended toys-these toys encourage independent and creative play. Toys like building blocks, figurines, Legos, rainbow stackers, cars, and more.
Also giving access to minimum toys matter – when there are too many toys the child might get overwhelmed. For example, lets say building blocks, there are so many variations in these blocks, if you have a collection of different blocks (like we do) start with one set of blocks. Because giving access to all of it, will get the child overwhelmed.So, gradually you can let the child have access to more toys, as the child will get better with play and will be able to handle them at ease.
#3 Be accessible || Be at their sight:
Always remember to keep an eye on your child, check on their play now and then. It doesn’t mean that you have to interrupt their play, but just to make sure the child is doing fine.
#4 The play space:
You need to work this; you need to make sure that the child’s play space is child proof. The room has to be set in a way that the child can access their needs independently without having to ask for your help.
Make the space is inviting for the child. When toys are all dumped into the toy storage and you expect your child to play with whatever toy they want from the bag, it will be a mess. The rate of success is will be doubt-able. Organise the toys, make it easier for the child. Also have enough space in the room for the child to freely move around.
#5 Start gradually and be Consistent:
Slowly build it up. Start playing along with the child. Slowly sneak out for a few minutes, let the child know that your moving out from the space for a few minutes. When asked for a reason, your answer has to be reasonable.
While you play along make sure you don’t interrupt their play. Don’t jump in to offer help/suggestion unnecessarily. Slowly they will be playing independently with you sitting beside them. Gradually they will be able to play without you beside them. It takes a little time, but it will happen.
Make sure independent play is a part of the child’s routine. When you are not consistent about giving the child some independent play time, then don’t expect for a positive result. Also, if you become the decision maker in your child’s play then independent play becomes questionable.
#6 The kind of play:
Our independent play journey started with sensory play. I would suggest you start with what the child loves the most. Sensory play was always a hit for us, I just made sure that everything is safe for the child’s play, then there will be no trouble.
Sensory play that we started with is water play, then play dough, small world play and so on…The journey began.
#7 Duration of play:
Don’t expect your child to play for hours together, initially the play with last only for a few minutes – 5,10,15 minutes – that’s perfectly fine, it will slowly improve. All days won’t be the same, a child who happens to enjoy 30 minutes of independent play on most days might suddenly just sit for 5 minutes, its perfectly normal. Only if it happens to continue for a certain period of time, try figure out the reason and work on it.
#8 Discussion about the play:
After the child’s independent play time, make it a point to talk to the child about their play, get to know what they played, let them share, the narration by the child is something you can’t afford to miss – you will love to hear it from your child, trust me, it’s the time for bonding.
#9 Respond to your child’s needs:
This is most important of all the things mentioned. It is important for kids to receive the warm love and undivided attention from the parent, something that they really need, when this is met, they tend to feel safe.
A trust, a bond has to be built, it is important for them to know that you will be there when they need you.
When the need of the child is met, they become confident, you will notice them shift their focus into exploring new things. When the emotional needs of a child are met, the child will not be dependent on you.
“Blogging is difficult. I am learning how to grow my blog with Neha – check here. In case if you are interested – learn how to grow your blog. Join this amazing challenge here. In this learn how to grow your blog will link to this post here.