Play Alone Time for Kids

posted by Vinitha , February 29, 2016

I love my daughter and have spent quite a lot of time "playing" with her. We have cooked pretend and real meals, crafted ships and cards, colored bunnies and unicorns and more. I love spending time with her and watching her thoughts and ideas grow. It brightens my mood most days but then there are times when I want her to magically disappear so that I can have a few minutes of peace.

Playing alone is a skill all kids should learn. It is healthy for a child to play alone. It is their downtime. Yes, they need downtime after dealing with adults. Playing alone encourages a child to learn crucial skills like kindling their creativity and critical thinking. It also lets them gain confidence in themselves. Making play alone time a part of your routine is a must for all.

Often as parents, we think we need to engage little minds at all times and keep them busy. We are busy shoving new suggestions, toys, and ideas at them. This practice stresses out kids and parents. Both of us need time away from each other and alone time to let our minds wander and refresh.

My six-year-old daughter likes to pretend play during her play alone time. She also likes creating greeting cards and drawings. She continues to enjoy building with blocks. Recently, jigsaw puzzles have been her choice of entertainment. I enjoy these play alone times. It gives me time to listen to a podcast or make myself a cup of chai. It gives me time to write articles like this one. After 45 minutes, I will be craving her company. I will walk into her room as the timer beeps and we will finish her project together and figure out something new to do.

Does your child play alone? Here are some tips to encourage your child to play alone,

Set A Boundary

Create a safe play area for your child. This is crucial for young kids - childproof the place and remove anything that should not be there.

Bring Out That Special Toy

Make alone time special. Have a toy/item that comes out only when it is alone time. It could be some costumes for pretend play, a box of crayons and a special notebook, an art project and such. Older kids might like using a music player and dancing to music.

Accept Mess

Kids and mess go hand in hand. Plan for it. I usually spread a plastic liner if there are paints and clay involved.

Set A Timer

Let the kids know that you will be with them once the timer goes off. A snack to mark the end of alone time is our favorite ritual.

Keep Away

Try not to interrupt your child's playtime. Resist the urge to walk in to check. Listen for trouble but keep away from their line of sight.

Image credits: Vinitha



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