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Teaching Your Baby To Play Alone.

Independent Play Time: Teaching Your Baby To Play Alone

Teaching your toddler how to play independently is part of the journey on his road to developing self-confidence. He may not want to play without you at first, but if you ease him into it, he will not only build important self reliance skills, but it will also give you some much needed time for your own tasks or activities. With these few tips for introducing your little one to independent playtime, he will be happily playing along side you in no time.

Be Patient
As with any new activity, new food, or new concept, it may take some time to get the hang of things. Be patient with your child when you introduce him to the idea of entertaining himself for a few moments each day. Think in terms of minutes. Maybe today he will play with a toy for five or 10 minutes all by himself. Tomorrow, maybe 15 minutes and so on as he gets used to the idea and starts to enjoy himself.

Let Him Know He is OK
Introducing independent playtime doesn’t mean you need to leave the room. Your little one can play right beside you on the floor while you fold laundry or prepare dinner. Close proximity will help your toddler feel secure and independent at the same time.

Choose His Favorite Activity
For a first-time independent play experience, select from your toddler’s favorite toys or activities. If he loves to play with blocks, set them up for him on the floor or in the middle of the coffee table and ask him to build you a castle. Show him what to do by stacking the blocks in front of him, then as he becomes engaged, let him know you’ll be right nearby while he continues to build his masterpiece.

Cheer Him On
From your vantage point across the room, let him know you are proud of his efforts to play by himself. “Look at that big tower you are building!” you can tell him, or “Wow! Can you draw another picture of your sister and the doggie?” This will reassure him that you are still close by, while also giving him confidence to continue his efforts by himself.

Set a Timer
If you have a shy little one who is reluctant to play alone by himself, let him know that it is just for a few minutes, especially if it is the very first time you are introducing the idea of independent playtime. You can set the timer on the microwave, for example, and let your toddler know that when the timer beeps, you will be there to play with him. This will help him develop trust and confidence. He knows he can play alone, but is reassured that mama will be back shortly to give him lots of love and attention.

Like good eating habits and a love of reading, teaching self-confidence begins at an early age. Giving your child time to play on his own, time to develop skills and time to entertain himself will ultimately give him the confidence he needs to succeed at preschool one day, and in life.
Writer Melanie Fleury is the mother of four beautiful children. She enjoyed finding toys at sites like  to help keep her children entertained while she did simple chores around the house. She hopes to teach other mothers the value of teaching their children to play independently.


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