How to Encourage Independent Play for Kids?


    Kids love to play but only under the supervision of their parents. It is hard for parents to let go of their kids who cannot differentiate between the good and bad, healthy and harmful. While the parents want some time to relieve themselves, kids on the other hand want to invade their privacy and comfort. This is why the independence of kids is also necessary. It allows parents with extended families to have some time off while the kid entertains himself. 

    Setup the Right Type of Playspace

    When it comes to encouraging independent play for kids, the first thing you need to do is setup the right type of playspace. As we know that kids love to play and parents are always attentive and watching by sitting close by. We understand that you want to relax yourself in such cases, which is sometimes not easy as you never know what the kid might end up swallowing. 

    Therefore, setting up the right type of playspace means that you provide the kids an area that isn’t too far from your reach. Somewhere you know it is safe and you can run to the rescue if required. Furthermore, remove any toys that comprise of potentially harmful components such as nuts and bolts, etc. And this time around, remove the singing and automatically operated toys. Offer the kids some creative toys to allow themselves to get lost in their imagination. 

    Consider Separating Screens from Playspace

    The most unfortunate thing to happen with the current generation is that they are glued either to the TV or computer screens. We are not against it but the fact of the matter is that too much screen time removes the ability of a kid to play independently. Sitting in front of the TV or the computer desk all day is harmful to health. Your kid is going to develop problems related to eyesight and posture etc. This is why it is important that you separate screen time from playspace. 

    Ask them to spend a specific amount of time in front of the screen and spend the rest in the playspace. For instance, if they are allowed to play an hour everyday, they should give half-hour to each activity. And since we have gaming consoles at our disposal such as the Xbox and PlayStation, do not be surprised if your kid prefers to sit on a chair and play games for hours. It is your duty to discourage that and implement strict rules regarding playtime. 

    Don’t Overpower Your Child’s Play


    Kids love to lead and receive attention. May it be going to the grocery store or shopping at a nearby mall. They will always be leading you and asking for attention. This is where you need to hand everything to them. When you are playing with your kids, always remember that they are in a world of their own. They are not aware of what is wrong and right. Therefore, you have to follow their lead. 

    If you tend to poke them and disturb their every move, you are going to make them rely on your decisions more. As a result, the independence you were trying to achieve is going to be destroyed. Remember, do not overpower your child’s play. When they are playing, they are the director and you are their assistant. This allows them to rely on their own inner world rather than yours. Sooner or later, they will realize that they do not need an adult to show them the direction.

    Create A Space Where They Can Be Alone


    A key factor when it comes to developing independent kids is to provide the space where they can be alone and feel safe. Some kids might actually feel nervous while their parents are sitting and watching them. They feel scared that if anything goes wrong, they might be scolded. Therefore, if you were to interrupt, they will continue to rely on what you had instructed. To ease this off, you need to be out of their sight while they are playing so that you can have a bit of time to yourself, while you do the laundry or take a nice relaxing bath. Once they are immersed in play, know that they are going to continue in the same pattern.

    Have Only Age Appropriate Toys on Offer

    Encouraging independence in kids requires providing only age-appropriate toys. If you are leaving them with something too hard to solve or figure out, they will come running after you to help them solve it. This is why you need to give them something that is not too difficult according to their age. If you continue to hand them complicated things and activities to carry out, they will become dependent on your guidance. So, you can then forget about encouraging independence in kids. 

    Think From Their Perspective

    You know what they say, if you want to understand the other side of the story, you have to look at it from the other person’s shoe. That is exactly the rule here as well. Sometimes, parents tend to develop and implement their own principles, which they think are enough. As a result, the kid might not be interest in engaging in activities just because what you thought was enough was never enough for the kid. 

    Therefore, you have to look at it from your kid’s perspective and try to understand what is keeping him/her from being independent. Try to encourage your child and promote his/her competency. This will give them the sense that what they are doing is right. As a result, they are not going to need anyone to tell them whether there is something they are doing right or wrong because at this stage while playing, there isn’t anything as such.

    Final Word

    Encouraging independence in kids will take a bit of time, You cannot expect them to become independent the very next day. However, if you consider the tips mentioned above, you can smoothen the process and make it more effective as well.


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