(English translation available after the Chinese article)
Fostering Independent Play in Kids
My son is an only child and there are no other children in our extended family so he often plays by himself. Sometimes we worry about whether playing alone too often would affect his social development but it turns out that independent play has many benefits to children’s development in various aspects. This article will discuss the benefits of independent play as well as the signs that parents need to pay attention to.
The Benefit of Independent Play
Independent Play can foster children’s different ability:
Children may pick up a toy to play in their own way without needing to follow the instructions in the manual. Through playing by themselves, children need to use their imagination.
Building blocks can become all kinds of things, a building, a car, or even scenery. Recently, my son likes to use small square blocks to build groups of numbers to expand his imagination and sense of space.
- Problem Solving
When children encounter difficulties while playing, they may ask their parents for help. The child needs to find the reason for the car being stuck. Aha! It turns out that the track is not well placed, so the electric car cannot run smoothly. The child can then try to reset the track so that the electric car is no longer stuck on the track.
This helps to build up the child’s ability to problem solve and can also improve self-confidence in doing other things.
Children can play alone, which can cultivate their independent ability without relying on others to entertain themselves.
This not only saves parents from having to accompany their children all the time but they can also have some private time (which seems to be a big benefit!) The most important thing is to cultivate children’s self-confidence in social situations. If other children are not interested in the toys they have, then the child will not feel unhappy, because they can play by themselves. If they don’t play with an adult, they don’t have to rely on an adult to give instructions and decide how to play.
There are many benefits to playing alone. Parents should pay attention to the following conditions before encouraging their children to play alone:
- Suitable environment
The first condition for children to play alone is a suitable environment. What is considered suitable? It’s a safe space away from the TV.
A safe space is to let your child play anywhere without fear of him being injured. If the environment is dangerous and the parents prevent the child from continuing to act from time to time, then the child can no longer engage in proper independent play.
Imagine that when the child is playing alone, the parents turn on the TV. The picture and sound of the TV will definitely attract the child’s attention and he or she cannot concentrate on playing, so the parents must turn off the TV at this time.
- Suitable toys
In addition to toys made with safe materials, suitable toys are also important for children’s age.
If you give a 4-year-old child a four-piece puzzle, it is too easy for him, and it may feel boring after five minutes of playing. On the contrary, if you give him a set of 100-piece puzzles, it is too difficult for him. He will soon ask for help from an adult, and he will not be able to achieve his goal of having fun alone.
- Don’t direct the child’s playing method
To let a child play independently is to give him the opportunity to dominate the gameplay, to believe that his own ideas are valuable and to build his own confidence in making decisions.
Adults often unconsciously give instructions to their children thinking that their own methods are better. Please remember, even if the child’s play style is different from our usual, it doesn’t matter as this is his time for creativity.
There are many benefits to having independent play. Would parents consider trying it?
All the contents published in this article are personal opinions and do not represent the opinions and views of Little Monkey Hong Kong.
About the Author
Scarlett is a working mom with a 4-year-old son, who knows the challenges encountered by working parents. She would like to share some thoughts on parenthood that may serve as support and encouragement for moms and dads.