When your children are still young, they may want to cling to you for comfort and a sense of safety, even in their own home. It’s necessary to know some ways to encourage a child to play independently so that they develop their autonomy and get comfortable with being on their own. Know how to teach your child independence and get them comfortable with the idea of being by themselves for periods of time.
Make Sure Toys Are Age-Appropriate
Before anything, you need to make sure that the toys you give them are appropriate for their age. You don’t want to give a complex toy with many small, moving parts to a toddler; they could accidentally break off pieces and swallow them.
Conversely, you don’t want to give something too simple to an older child; it won’t sustain their interest for long, and they’ll get easily bored with it. Know the interests of your child and give them something that you know they’ll be safe with, making sure it captures their interest.
Provide a Comfortable Environment
It can be hard for children to play in a strange or uncomfortable environment. These types of unwelcoming places can be rooms or places your child is not familiar with or a space where there is a lot of foot traffic. It’s essential to give your kids a spot to call their own, a place where they feel safe playing with their toys undisturbed.
Constant interruptions can encourage them to play less, and an unfamiliar environment can have them clinging to you for comfort. A specific play area is a critical part of allowing your children to develop their independence.
Stay Nearby and Gradually Move Away
At first, it may be hard for your children to play independently without you or any type of parental supervision around. It’s common for kids to feel separation anxiety, but there are ways to circumvent this behavior without forcing your children into uncomfortable situations.
You may need to stand close by as they play, but it’s essential that you physically move further and further away. This method allows your child to subtly grow accustomed to playing on their own; they won’t notice the sudden disappearance after gradual separation.
For Your Child’s Benefit
Trying some ways to encourage your kids to play independently allows them to grow as their own person; this is essential for their personal development so early in their lives. Whether they need a toy that’s simple in design or they’re old enough to handle a Sky Rover helicopter, it’s important to give them what they need and the space to do it.