Does your child know how to play alone? Responses from parents can vary. Some parents wish their children would play alone more. Some worry about how much their children choose to play alone. The answer lies somewhere in between and has more to do with the type of alone play, rather than the amount of alone play. We know that interacting with others is extremely valuable and playing with your child is very important – but it is also important to give your child the opportunity to play alone. Playing alone, especially in a pretend play or creative setting is extremely valuable. Without another person to prompt them, children are completely able to direct their own play. This is time to work through things that they see adults do – to practice adult tasks such as caring for a baby, getting dressed, or cooking. Playthings can be chosen by the child, not the adult. Problems can be solved and ideas can be generated. Communication skills are practiced as the child narrates the play scenario and is able to control ideas about how the play should go, without being interrupted by others ( how many times have you heard your child chatting away to himself during play?)
If your child likes to create, make a “Creation Station” in your home filled with supplies like paint, markers, paper, glue and recycled items such as tubes and magazines. Allow your child to use these items without giving ideas about what should be made. It is fine to make a rule about how much glue or where to use the markers (not on the new rug), but children should be given some freedom to create alone. If art is not your child’s thing, provide sensory play, such as play doh, transferring water between two big bowls with a cup, or a bin of uncooked rice to scoop and pour in.
Although we know social interactions are important, alone time gives your child autonomy and an opportunity to practice important skills and creativity. It is a great thing for your child and for you!
Do you give your child time to play alone each day?
Let Them Fly.0