You can teach your child how to play alone. Yep. It’s possible! There are a few tricks that will help when teaching your child to play alone! Learn how to encourage kids to play alone today.
I was determined not to put my kid in front of a screen while I finished short tasks or made dinner. I also didn’t want him coming in every five minutes to ask me when I’d be done…
If your child is anything like mine, then getting them to play alone can seem like an impossibility. But in reality, being able to play alone is a skill-set that needs to be encouraged.
Your child may be bored in the beginning, but that isn’t terrible! Boredom is the first step to creativity.
If they are constantly engaged and entertained by the actions of someone else, they will never find creative ways to entertain themselves.
Allowing your child to learn this skill will lead them into the realm of creativity where their mind will come alive and help them to invent, compose, and create!
Get Started Teaching Your Child How to Play Alone
Before you attempt to help your child play alone, here are a few tips that have really helped me in teaching my own child and former students to play (happily) on their own!
First and foremost, and possibly most challenging in these modern times: THIS TIME SHOULD NOT INCLUDE SCREENS.
It’s really easy to set a child down in front of the TV or iPad, but that’s not helping them learn to be creative with their own entertainment. So, do everything you can during this time to keep them away from screens
Your child may feel frustrated when you tell them it’s time to start playing alone. To address this, make sure they know you are still there for them and will be close by.
Be honest. Tell them it’s an important skill to learn and that you are practicing for a short time.
This is what really helped most of my students to accept playing alone – they knew they were learning an important skill!
Don’t just throw them in the deep end (figuratively). Give them several suggestions of things they can play with during this time, but also tell them they can think of other things to do as well.
Start slow and temper your expectations. They really are learning a huge new skill!
Start with 10 minutes at a time and work your way up to 45 minutes of alone time play.
If needed, sit close by to start, then slowly move farther away as time passes.
You don’t want them to feel abandoned, but you also don’t want them to pull your into the playtime because you’re too close… use your judgement here and adjust as needed!
Fun Ideas For Encouraging Your Child to Play Alone
There are many, many things your child can do during individual play time, but below is a list of favorites! Choose the ones that appeal most to your child when you are first starting out.
- Building blocks or LEGO bricks
- Stuffed animal play
- Pretend kitchen/restaurant
- Reading books (looking at pictures)
- Trains or cars
- Dress up
- Anything else they want to do!
It will be a little weird at first for your child if they have always had someone playing with them, but if you start small and stay consistent, your child will be playing on their own for longer stretches of time in a week or two!
You might also like:
- 23 Toddler Activities (Without Screens)
- DIY Gravel Pit Activity
- Water Play for Preschoolers and Big Kids Too
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