Independent Play

This past week, I noticed how my husband really plays with our kids.  He actually participates.  With him, play time is scheduled- part of the after school routine. He is absolutely right to ensure playtime happens; we both do.  I realized he models play to our kids so that they can play independently when they are with me, the less playful parent.

Independent Play

I have always held the belief that helping children play independently is a great way to instill confidence and cooperation (http://www.kidsbehaviour.co.uk/encouraging-co-operation-from-your-children.html) in them.

I do follow some loose rules to encourage them to be independent.In this over scheduled society, providing access to unadulterated independence is just what the doctor ordered.

-Get out of the TV room!

If you are like most families, your family room probably doubles as a playroom.  However, if the tv is in there, chances are its on and the kids are watching. I avoid this by bringing some of the toys in a laundry basket to whatever other room I need to be in. They have no recourse but to play on their own, happily.

-No Schedule for once!

I leave one or two weekdays free and unfettered.  Anything goes and most often that means the kids making forts, playing with pots and pans etc.

-Your smile is your only involvement

I stay hands off during their independent play unless they ask for me, need my help or get help.  I do offer lots of smiles and praise for their independence. I also ask what the story line is if they are making up a story. I am simply an audience.

-Rotate those toys and make them accessible

My kids have easy access to most of their toys but I also have a secret stash I rotate out often.

Afterschool activities and free resources from SmartTutor.

Article By Nuria Almeida

Photo By Kelly Sue



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