As a parent, there are many things that you want to teach your child and the skills they need to learn. From how to count to tying their shoes, we know that you are always working with them to teach them new things. One skill that your child should know that you may not be aware of is how to play independently.

At Inch By Inch Child Care in Bedford, we know how important independent play can be for a variety of reasons. In our child care programs, your child will take part in playing independently, as well as a variety of other activities. In this blog, we wanted to go over the importance of independent play and how you can help your child learn this skill.

The Importance of Independent Play

There are many reasons why you should teach your child to play independently and many benefits that can come from them learning this skill. This is a learned skill that you need to help them with. But it is worth it.

Frees You Up

As a parent, you spend a lot of time with your child and help them throughout the early years of their lives. But there are times when you need them to stay busy or entertained while you take care of different tasks you need to do. Teaching your child to play independently allows you to have the free time to do whatever you need to get done, whether it is cook dinner, jump into a meeting, or write a few emails. This is especially beneficial if you are working from home, it allows you to work while your little one plays on their own and entertains themselves.

Entertain Themselves

There are many times when it is beneficial for your child to entertain themselves. Whether it is because you need a break after a long day of work or because you have guests over and don’t want your kiddo interrupting the conversation, teaching your child can entertain themselves is a great choice.

They Learn Independence

Another big benefit of teaching your children how to play on their own is that they will learn independence from this skill. While playing alone is a simple task, your child will learn that they can do things on their own and begin to develop independence in other aspects of life too. Teaching your child independence is a tougher task, but having them do things on their own, like playing, can help them to feel more comfortable doing things alone.

How to Teach independent Play

Now that you know the reasons to teach your child independent play, we wanted to give you some tips on how to teach them this skill. It isn’t tricky, but some children may have a harder time figuring it out than others.

Play With Them

While children love to play, they are not born with an innate understanding of play. By sitting on the floor with your little one and teaching them how to play and manipulate their toys, you can help them develop the understanding of play. Teach them how to build with blocks, mold play dough, and play with action figures and dolls. As your child begins to enjoy playing more, they will want to do it more.

Get the Right Toys

Getting the right toys will help your child be able to stay entertained for a longer period of time. Toys that don’t have a purpose like blocks, LEGOs, arts and crafts, and other toys that they can do a variety of things with, can help them stay entertained longer.

Set Up a Play Area

Creating a play area that is specifically for your child can help them know when and where to play. They will know that at certain times they will be able to go to their play area and do whatever they want with their toys. You can set this area up in their bedroom, in the basement, or in your office if your child is too young to play in a room alone. This also will help keep their toys out of the rest of the house.

Start Stepping Away

As your child begins to play with you and you notice them enjoy their toys and making their own decisions with how to play with their toys, you can start stepping away. Tell your child to keep playing while you go take a phone call or start dinner. You can tell them you will be back in a bit to check on them. If you need to, you can use a timer so that your child knows you will be back in a set amount of time. If you notice that your child is playing just fine on their own when the timer goes off, you can stay away longer and allow them to play independently. Eventually, go back and start playing with them again so that they know you will come back. If your child thinks that you won’t return to play, they won’t want you to leave and will have trouble playing alone.

Encourage It

As your child gets more and more comfortable with you stepping away from playing with them and plays alone for a longer period of time, you can start having them initiate the play without getting started with you. When they tell you they are bored or ask you to play with them, tell them to go start playing and that you will join them in a bit. When they get used to starting their playtime by themselves, they will become more and more comfortable with simply going to play alone without needing you to encourage it.

Independent play is an important skill for your child to learn and can be beneficial for parents as well, especially if you are working from home. Now that you know how to help your kiddo learn how to play independently, you can start working with them on this new skill. It will come in handy in a wide variety of scenarios.

If you are looking for a high-quality child care center for your child, be sure to check out Inch By Inch Child Care in Bedford. We offer a variety of programs where we will help your child develop new skills, learn, and grow! Contact us today to get started.