Day 403: Independent Play Time for Toddlers

I read in one of my “dad books” a while ago that it is good for little ones to have time playing independently.  Time playing without you involved, without you hovering – basically to be left alone with their toys/books/whatever safe thing you have for them.

I have noticed that lately, it is something that is valuable for both the little guy and me.  Sometimes he wants me to play with him, sometimes he wants to play alone.  And sometimes I want to play with him, and sometimes I want him to play alone.  I think it is a valuable part of his developmental growth to have this independent time to do what he wants.  And what does he do?

He reads out loud to himself and his toys.  He feeds the stuffed animals.  He plays with his puzzles, toys, balls, and whatever we have for him.  He puts on my shoes.  He fixes his hair.  He hugs things.

How do I know what he is doing if I am giving him this “independent time?”  Because independent time does not mean I neglect him and go to the other room and close the door.  As a parent we all know that we need to keep one eye on our kids at all times, and this is no different.  So maybe I am bringing dirty dishes back into the kitchen or cleaning up, but he does his own thing during this time.  Or maybe I am listening to a podcast while sitting on the sofa, and he is playing on the floor.  You see what I mean?

It seems to me that a lot of people want to constantly be offering some kind of stimulation all the time for their kids.  As you know, I am always trying to do something interesting for/with the little guy.  But I think there is some real power in that independent, alone play time.  Almost like it gives their brains a chance to try out all these things they have been learning and absorbing thru all the stimulation they have.  So it feels like it is good for them, and also good for us, the parents. 😉

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