“ When will my child start Independent Play?”
I started asking this question from my mom friends as early as 3 months into motherhood. I was exhausted being there for my son all the time. The sleepless nights were making me too tired and I wanted some time when I could take my eyes off my child.
I for Independent Play
Independent play is important for babies as it helps them bring out their imagination. It makes them develop social independence which means that they will feel comfortable in any situation. This also means some independence for you as a parent. It takes patience and time to foster independent play in kids. But it is not impossible.
How to encourage independent play in toddlers
Start with giving toys which gain their attention. They will keep the kids busy for a longer time. Remember, the attention span of babies at 6 months is only 5-10 minutes. This increases as they grow up.
Open ended toys for Independent Play
Use open ended toys because they improve their imagination and problem solving ability. Kitchenware is a very good example of an open ended play. My son plays with the utensils for 30 minutes on good days. Other toys which can keep a child busy are blocks, quiet books, bead coasters, etc.
Set up a play area
Set up a play area which is kid friendly (childproofed) and keep his favourite toys and books within his reach. Let him choose what he wants to play with.
Stay in the room
Stay in the room with your kid and encourage him to play by himself. You may stay close to him and read a book. This will keep him comfortable. Gradually start giving him activities which keep him busy and you can leave him alone for sometime.
There might be days when your kid wouldn’t want to play alone. Change the routine that day and try something new but do not forget what your goal is.
This blog is a part of my series on A-Z of Parenting, Unlearn the Alphabets after becoming parents and Blogchatter AtoZ.