We all know how important it is to play with your child but it is also important for your child to learn how to play independently not only will this allow you snippets of time to cook dinner, clean the house or just read a magazine for 10 minutes with a well deserved cuppa but it also teaches your child independence and creativity.
Lola very rarely plays by herself and I have been looking at ways to encourage her to play more independently, I am a mum of three and I work full time while still trying to keep the house in order and feed my children healthy food and its a lot to fit into the day. Even down to colouring Lola wants me to do it with her and if I say I am busy she will refuse to do it alone. I am now on a mission for her to find her own imagination and creativity
So how can we encourage children to play alone?
1. Turn off the TV and limit the distraction
Children find TV a massive distraction and they simply can not help watching it if its on in the background. Take away iPads, tablets, and any technology that will distract
2. Store toys within your child's reach
Provide easy access to a variety of age appropriate toys including toys that spark imagination and do not do everything for the child
examples of these are: Trains, Wooden blocks, play house, dress up, Dolls, think Kitchens, pretend food, till and tea sets. Wooden figures such as the story boxes , these are fabulous for imagination and role pay.
3. Ask questions
Ask your child lots of questions about what they are playing, encourage them and let them know that you are interested in what they are doing and praise them for playing independently, let them know they are doing a great job and you are pleased, all children like to praised
4. Let your child be bored
I have spoken about this a lot in the past and I totally encourage a child to become bored. Boredom allows your child ti initiate new and creative ways of playing. Do not feel you have to solve your child boredom
" kids need time to be bored, that is how creativity is born "
Melanie Jean Juneau
5. Help your child find their thing
Help your child to discover what they love, lots of children love dinosaurs and will play for hours on end with a few dinosaur figures. Once they have found their thing, encourage it, find more toys that will spark their imagination and they will love. Train sets are another popular toy for children and they will become obsessed with anything train, encourage this passion for play.
6. Stay in the same room
Playing alone does not mean they need to be alone and for some children this is a scary prospect. While you are cooking dinner set up a simple craft for them to do or get out their favourite toys or better still have a selection for them to choose from to hand. Boxes of toys are great for this, while it separates collections of toys they are also portable from room to room.
7. Set expectations
Some children will need to now what is expected and how long they are expected to play on their own. To begin with set a timer for just 10 minutes and ask your child to play for 10 minutes and when the timer goes off we will play a game together. Again ensure your child has access to toys and crafts that they enjoy.
8. Be flexible
Be flexible but stick to your plan of independent play, if your child just is not in the right frame of mind , mix it up. go outside and play, let them run around, chalk on the pavement, hula hoop, ride a bike but you watch , read a magazine for a while. Maybe set up a tea party and ask them to get together all their dolls and have a tea party, after a while invite yourself for tea and cake. its all about encouragement and once they have started to play for small snippets of time alone this will naturally increase and they will find their own imagination and creativity
I will be trying these at home with Lola and I will let you know how I get on
Leave a comment below,,or if you have a question let me know