Ask Octavia and Vicky:
I am having this issue with my son.
He doesn’t play on his own, not even 15 minutes.
I am having a hard time getting things done around
the house or finishing up dinner. Any advice ?? Thank you, Saly
Hi Saly! Thank you for your question, I hope I can help you out with a few tips:
~ Start small. If your child has never enjoyed playing alone try showing them how to play by themselves. Set up an irresistible activity, show them how to play, then explain that you need to go and do something. Go for five minutes, then come back and check in with them for five minutes. Then try leaving them for five minutes again. A timer may help visualise this for your child – try a five minute sand timer.
~ Stay close. Set up activities close to where you need to be. If you’re doing the dishes, the washing, working on the computer – set up the play near you to encourage independent play, without leaving your child completely alone.
~ Find play in the every day. When I need to get on with cooking or cleaning and Pebble NEEDS to be with me, I try and include her in what I am doing. If I’m cooking she loves to play with the spice bottles, if I’m doing dishes she stands next to me and helps rinse, if I’m hanging out washing she loves to play with the pegs, if I’m cleaning she uses a cloth to help me dust (but if I’m vacuuming she hides! LOL).
~ Keep things fresh. Rotate the toys and activities available regularly. I find the days that Pebble plays on her own most successfully is right after I’ve rearranged her toys and brought out activities that she hasn’t seen for a long time.
~ Busy bags. I only recently started using Busy Bags after joining in a Busy Bag swap, and I’m totally hooked! A busy bag is a little bag or box with an easy but engaging and open-ended activity for your child to do by themselves. You will need to think about the age and interests of your child to find out what suits best. Try searching Pinterest for ideas.
~ Break it up. I find that straight after Pebble and I have spent an hour or so playing and crafting, or playing at the park, that I can much more easily get a little break to catch up on jobs I need to get done. I try to give her a big dose of Mummy, then a little break by herself (20 minutes or so) with a fun activity, then another little dose of Mummy.
~ Create Invitations to Play – There are lots of fabulous ideas for invitations to play on the interwebs. Try these posts from The Imagination Tree, Teach Preschool, Pinterest, Childhood 101, Learn with Play at Home, Play at Home Mum LLC.
I hope these tips help you get a little space and time to get things done. Good luck!
Dear readers, do you have any tips for Saly? How do you encourage your little ones to play independently?