Independent play is something that I was able to instill in Leo at an early age. Here are some reasons why it is so beneficial.
Go on, mama – encourage your little one to use his/her imagination!
Life, as a work-at-home-mom, can be hectic. Sure, I reap in the benefits when it comes to making my own schedule, being flexible (i.e., putting aside work if the little guy gets sick), and saving on full-time daycare/sitter costs.
But, on a regular basis, it’s a huge juggling act. Being a mom is a full time job as it is; I consider it akin to working double shifts.
Now that Leo has reached the toddler phase, he’s been exercising a lot more independent play. It’s exciting to see him use his imagination and observe how he interacts with games and toys.
Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my little one. But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. Whether you’re working or finishing up chores, a parent can’t be at their kiddos’ side 24/7.
Here are some ways to encourage independent play for your toddler.
How to Encourage Independent Play
Choose Versatile Toys
When I purchase toys, I try to think of the different ways they can be played with. I ask myself, “Are they good quality? Will it encourage the use of my kiddo’s imagination? How fast will he get bored with it?”
Lego, DUPLO, and Play-Doh require so much imaginative play and creativity, we often fill our toy boxes with those. Of course, it is so important to keep up with the toy’s level – make sure you are always purchasing products suited for your child’s age.
Check In and Play Every Now and Then
Besides keeping my eye on them, I like to go back and forth; joining my little guy for mini play sessions. It shows that I’m interested in what he’s doing and I can offer him ideas about what he can do/play with next.
Show & Tell
Ask your little one to show you what it is he/she is doing. Again, it’s all about showing interest. This will encourage them to use their imagination more and is a great way to exercise good communication skills.
Keep it to a Minimum
Your child’s play area shouldn’t be filled to the brim with toys. This can create an overwhelming atmosphere that may over stimulate your little one. Instead, try a toy rotation so that your child can focus on one theme day-to-day.
How old were your kiddos when they started to play on their own? Would you try any of these tricks to encourage independent play?
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