These tips will help your child play independently! Ned help in this area? Because I get it!! Been there times 3. Here are my top ten tips to help your child play independently.
And, all things considered, please remember there’s no wrong way to play!!
Don’t Interrupt Them – Independent Play Tip #1:
When kids are playing they are in their zone of genius. They’re learning, growing, and making sense of the world in these moments. If your kid is playing happily – do NOT interrupt them for a planned activity or to ask unnecessary questions.
Once they’re interrupted, they often don’t fall right back into their play. If we break the flow, it can be hard for them to find it again.
And I get it – you might have to serve lunch or run an errand or take them to daycare. Of course, by all means stop your child and do what needs to get done.
BUT don’t interrupt them to try to tell them how to play, or to have them do an activity YOU set up, or to tell them something that can wait!
These are sacred, magic moments – don’t interrupt play unless you have to!!
Be Mindful of How Many Toys are Out – Independent Play Tip #2:
Toddlers and Kids get decision fatigue just like adults. For this reason a space that’s packed with stuff can actually lead to LESS play. By the same token, when you ditch the clutter and tuck away excess toys in storage, many kids will play MORE. Prioritize fewer options at a time!
Prioritize Open Ended Toys – Independent Play Tip #3:
As you choose which toys to keep out, pick the ones that capture your child’s interest, are open ended and can be used many ways (think blocks, dolls, LEGOs, toys for make believe play and building).
More on which toys to ditch and which to prioritize keeping out in this checklist and guide!
Create YES Spaces – Independent Play Tip #4:
Prioritize creating spaces where kids can play freely, explore, and experiment without lots of adult intervention.
Make sure toys are low and accessible for your child, put any potentially harmful items out of reach or in another space, set up the space so it’s safe for the way your child likes to play.
Ultimately, if we’re constantly squashing kids curiosity and having to place tons of limits on what they can do and play, it takes a toll on their creativity and ability to find their flow in play.
Try Simple Play Invitations – Child Independent Play Tip #5:
Another key point to remember is the value of setting up simple play stations!
Set up very simple invitations for play in order to can spark your child’s curiosity and help them find their flow in play.
This could look like taking the the beloved Paw Patrol tower and pups and setting it up in the kitchen near where you’ll be cooking. As a result, your child will be surprised to find the toy there and delighted to play to you.
Or pour some kinetic sand in a bin and add some molds. Simply setting up the materials in an inviting and expected way will naturally attract the child’s attention and spark their interest to play.
Looking for simple play invitations to spark play. Begin here!
Looking for baby activities?! Check out 50 Activities for Babies and Young Toddlers here!!
Have a toddler? You will love 50 Low Prep Toddler Activities found here!
Preschool aged kids? Here are 50 Preschool Activities kids will LOVE!