While parents love their kids more than anything else, parents also need some time to themselves during the day, both to get things done around the house and to unwind. Especially with so many kids being home all day due to distance learning, many parents are desperate for their kids to spend some time independently during the day. But if your kids aren’t used to this, making this happen can be a challenge.
To help both you and your kids get more of this time, here are three ways you can encourage your kids to play more independently.
Help Them Narrow Down Activities
For some kids, what’s hard about starting to play independently is that they don’t know what to do.
To address this problem, Melbourne Child Psychology recommends that you sit down with your child before you want them to play independently and brainstorm ideas for what they can do on their own. Some activities you might want to list out together could include things like coloring, playing with specific toys, drawing, doing puzzles, or even playing video games. Once you have a list that your child can work from or choose from, it should be easier for him or her to figure out how they’ll spend their independent play time and even be excited to do those things.
Do Similar Activities At The Same Time
Sometimes, your child may not want to play independently because they’re interested in whatever it is you’re doing that you’d like to do on your own.
In a situation such as this, Laure Grande, a contributor to Today’s Parent, suggests that you try parallel play. What this means is that your child does something similar to you but not actually with you. This can be done with things like reading, chores, or other activities. What can be really great is if you’re able to do what you’re doing inside and they can participate in parallel play outside while you keep an eye on them through glass doors.
Stick To Your Boundaries
If you want your child to get more comfortable and familiar with independent play, you’ve got to set some boundaries that you commit to sticking to about enforcing independent play time.
To do this, Samantha Rodman, a contributor to the Huffington Post, advises that when you tell your child that they need to play on their own, you stick to your guns and continue to refuse to play with them until the set time for independent play is over. No matter how much your children whine about it, it’s important that you stand firm now so that independent play will be the norm in the future.
If you’re wanting to kids to have more independent play, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you accomplish this in your home.