One of the Biggest Misconceptions about Independent Play
Independent play looks different for everyone. For some, it may be sitting and building with blocks. For another child it may be coloring or painting. For another it may be riding a bike a scooter.
One of the most common misconceptions I hear when working with families is that a child can’t or doesn’t play on their own. Then, as we get to talking, I hear that the little one loves to ride their scooter back and forth for a half hour at a time, or collect sticks around the park. That may not be sitting and building on the floor, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as playing independently.
Many of the families I work with feel frustrated that their child never seems to stick with one activity. Coming in and out of an activity is totally natural and appropriate! In fact, in many ways, it actually builds and strengthens independent play skills, as your child moves around the room between materials figuring out what they want to engage with. It encourages them to be creative and figure out how they can layer something new into what they were previously doing and expand upon it.
That said, there are simple, but instrumental things you can do in terms of the setup of your space, what materials are available, the types of activities or invitations to play that you’re putting out and and HOW you’re setting them up that will help build your child’s focus in play and lengthen the time they can engage on their own. Some tiny tweaks can make a huge impact. If you’re looking for support in this area, I can help!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your 1:1 play consultation!