Tag Archive | "teaching toddlers independent play"

Ways To Promote Independent Play In Toddlers

Being able to play alone helps toddlers develop a sense of confidence and self-reliance.  It will also give parents more time for themselves. Here are some ways to help you coax your toddler to independent play.

Create A Safe Play Area

Your toddler’s play area can be his room, den or living room. Remove any hazardous and fragile items so your toddler will not be tempted to play with these objects. Secure big furnitures to the walls so it will not fall or topple over your toddler in case he tries climbing them. Cover electrical sockets with electrical outlet covers and use cord covers for electrical cords or hide them behind curtains. Install a safety gate at the doorway of the room and place a baby monitor so that you can keep an eye on your little one while he plays.

Take It Slow

Do not desert your toddler right away once he is in his play area. Show him the different toys and activities he can do. Once he gets the hang of it, sit silently beside your toddler as he plays. Do not join in. After some time, step away so he can continue playing on his own but reassure him that you will be close by if he needs you. You can start leaving him on his own for 5 to 10 minutes each day until your toddler is able to amuse himself for longer periods of time.

Limit Your Toddler’s Attention Span

Giving your toddler a box of toys to play with can overstimulate him. But giving him a single toy will also make him bored. Leave a few toys he can play with constructively such as building blocks, shape sorters, puzzles, play sets, books, finger puppets, coloring books and crayons, art and craft sets or any toy he finds stimulating. These toys guarantee a playtime that is educational, entertaining and absorbing.

Provide Music

Put on some child-friendly CDs. Sing-along CDs (e.g. Old McDonald Had A Farm, Jack and Jill, If You’re Happy and You Know It, etc.) and character children’s CDs (Barney, Elmo and Friends and Mickey, Minnie and Goofy) are good choices since these songs are familiar to your toddler. Listening to familiar songs is not only entertaining for your toddler to listen to and move with but it can offer comfort during solitary play as well.

Give Praise

Once solo playtime is up, make sure to praise your little one. Spend a few minutes playing a game with your toddler, read a story or ask him how his playtime went. Do not forget to tell him “Mommy is so happy you played by yourself. Great job!” and give him a hug and a kiss as a reward. Children want to make their parents happy and acknowledging their efforts motivate them to repeat the good behaviour.

Independent play is a skill that takes time for toddlers to learn. But with a little practice and your full support, you can get your toddler to play without mommy and daddy’s interaction.

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