Have you ever wondered if you can get your child to play alone? You can! Learn all about Independent Playtime and why it’s such a beneficial and useful parenting tool. This is the first post in the Independent Playtime series.
Imagine being able to have time to shower, pay a few bills, or tend to some of your own responsibilities without distraction…and it’s quiet!
Believe it or not, it’s completely possible for you to have time alone to get a few things done while giving your child a chance to grow and benefit at the same time. Win, win!
One of my favorite parenting tools ever is Independent Playtime. It has endless benefits for children (while benefiting moms!) and I just can’t say enough about it.
In fact, I think it’s so important, I’ll be dedicating the next few posts to this very topic. I’ll dive deep into exactly how you can make it work for you and your child. And each post will be linked here so you this post as a reference.
Before I let you go, I want to give you a brief overview of what Independent Playtime is and what you can expect from this series.
WHAT EXACTLY IS INDEPENDENT PLAYTIME?
Let’s start by defining it.
Independent Playtime is a regularly scheduled time where your child plays alone, daily when possible. You choose the time of day, the location and (mostly) what the child plays with. And it’s best to keep the time of day consistent so it can become a reliable part of your child’s daily routine.
You’ll start in short increments and gradually increase the time as your child ages (or gets better at it, if you start when they’re older). As the time lengthens, your child will transition from a blanket or playmat, to a crib or portable crib, and finally to Roomtime. And looking even further into the future, Independent Playtime will help your child transition out of afternoon naptime, all while preserving your sanity
The length of time and what your child plays with will vary based on your child’s needs and personality, but timing and toy choice are important factors to it’s success.
WHAT IT ISN’T
Before we go any further, I feel it’s important to explain what Independent Playtime is not.
First and foremost, it is not simply isolation just to give you a break. Although that’s a really nice benefit for you, it’s not the main goal. Remember, this time should be intentionally set aside and thoughtfully set up for the benefit of your child.
It’s also not a time for:
- Playing with other children
- Toys that are too challenging (save this for a time they can get help)
- Toys that are too easy (they can become bored and frustrated)
- Your child to choose where they play
- Your child to choose what they play with (although as they get older, they can definitely help choose – I always let my children have a say.)
And finally, it’s not a thing to put off until they’re older. You can start in the newborn days! But don’t worry, it’s never too late to start. After all, everyone can benefit from a little alone time, right?
WHY IS INDEPENDENT PLAYTIME IMPORTANT?
One of the main goals of Independent Playtime is well-stated in the book, On Becoming Preschool Wise:
“The most important aspect of this time is that your child is learning to focus on what he can do with the things he has.
But you and your child can still benefit from Independent Playtime even if you don’t use Babywise
I can tell you from personal experience, that introducing it to my children was the best piece of parenting advice I have ever received. I started it when my oldest was a few months old and I’ve continued to use it with all 4 of my kids.
And we all love it.
So even if it sounds scary or impossible, please, please give it a try. And stick with it! Sometimes it takes time to work up to it, but your child will benefit so much. And you will too!
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT INDEPENDENT PLAYTIME?
In the next few posts, I will go into more detail about this awesome parenting tool.
Here are the topics that will be covered:
- What are the benefits of Independent Playtime?
- How do I implement Independent Playtime and how long should it be?
- What is Roomtime?
- What do I do if Independent Playtime isn’t going well?
- What do I do if my child destroys their room during Roomtime?
If you have any other questions about Independent Playtime or have specifics you hope to see in one of these posts, let me know in the comments!
want to remember this?
Share this article: