Getting your kids to play independently is a skill that they have to learn. But the good news is that it is also one that you can teach. And you can start teaching them today.
Working from home and need tips on how to get your child to play independently? Or maybe you just want your child to play more independently everyday so you can have a few moments alone or to get things done around the house.
Start slow and understand that they won’t start playing independently over night. Like learning any new skill it will take time and consistency. Also depending on their age the length of independent play will vary.
8 Tips to get Kids to Play Independently
1. Give them lots of attention first.
To get my kids to play longer on their own I get down on the floor and I play with them. All your kids really want from you is you. If you give them 20 minutes of your undivided attention they are more likely to sit and play on their own.
2. Create an independent play space.
Have a dedicated place or basket where toys or games or activities are age appropriate and accessible where they can choose something to play with during their independent play time. This can be in their room, toy room or beside your desk while you work. Change up these toys or games every week or few weeks.
3. Give them what they know.
Give them activities, games or toys that they are interested in and that are not too difficult. Like us, kids like doing things that they understand and that are easy. Set up activities or toys for them to use during independent play that that they understand already and can easily do on their own.
4. Do it everyday.
Set aside a time everyday to be dedicated to independent play. I like to do it after nap or after breakfast when they are happy and content. Do this everyday and it will become routine.
5. Have a time limit.
Independent play shouldn’t and won’t last forever. If you child is struggling with it, give them a short time limit to start such as 5 minutes. Have them play solo for 5 minutes. Use a timer so they can see how much time they have left (at least for the first few times). More likely than not they will become engrossed in their activity it will last longer than 5 minutes. Continue this for a few days and then start to extend the time a minute everyday.
6. Let them figure things out on their own.
Don’t jump in right away if they are having trouble.
7. Start early.
Start teaching independent play today. The younger you start them feel comfortable playing on their own easier it will be.
8. Remember independent play is a skill.
Always keep in mind that playing independently is a skill and they will improve with practice. Also some days will be better than others depending on their mood.