Independent Play for Babies: Why It is Important?
You may have read many blogposts telling different ways of independent play for babies. For example, how long should a 3 year-old play alone or independent play time by age, etc. The internet is full of bulk of information, but do you really understand the concept and its importance. Before sharing my ideas and approaches with you, I would like to ask you a few simple questions?
What was your routine with your child when he/she was an infant?
How things changed over the course of time between you and your child as he crossed different developmental stages?
What is your general idea about the benefits of independent play for babies?
What does independent play for 1 year old baby mean to you?
How Things Usually Are!!!
Usually, parents spend a lot of time playing with their infants, shaking rattles in front of them, squeezing musical toys in front of them and much more. As the infants become small babies, we take them with us at different places like baby gyms, baby parks and let them explore the world while staying in touch with us. Then comes the toddler stage. Again parents involve in different activities with their kids with the aim of letting them see the world.
Things are going on smoothly when suddenly the children reach their school ages. Around that time, parents start thinking that they can play for 20 minutes or so on their own. For example, you might have thought that my baby can play alone while I can prepare dinner!! Right?
Independent Play for Babies: Develop Early!!!
For kids, the first three years of life represent a time dominated by massive hard wiring of the brain. The connections that they develop with parents and primary caregivers in early stages become deeply enrooted in their brains. That is why, they start facing difficulty when things are changed all of a sudden. Therefore, it is important to instill the habit of independent play from the very beginning. You can find age-specific independent play tricks and examples throughout the internet. There is abundant information with headings like independent play 4 month old baby, independent play 6 month old baby and independent play 9 month old baby, etc. But, do not overdo it in infancy or early stages! A small time period to let babies play on their own can do the trick and independent play for babies can work wonders.
After this, as time goes by and children reach their school going ages, they have a successful set of habits to guide them in life. Such kids can be seen vividly different in their overall approach to life as compared to their classmates. They never become a burden for their parents, their teachers, their peers or any other person at all.
Independent Play for Babies: Some Benefits!!
There are different benefits associated with the habit of independent play for babies. Some benefits manifest themselves on immediate basis. While, some other benefits can be seen in the later years of the children’s lives. All in all, this is a truly promising habit if once mastered thoroughly.
1. A Win-Win Approach
Independent play is an approach that is beneficial for both the parents and the children equally. Children can learn about their creativity levels while playing with themselves. They can know who they are and what they are capable of. They can experience openness to novelty and innovations. Independent play can help them know about the world in a whole new way.
As for the parents, independent play can help them in having some time to their own selves. As kids learn independence, they start working independently in other domains as well. This can relieve many stresses associated with parenthood.
2. Development of Essential Qualities
Independent play can lead to the development of many major and vital qualities in the children. For instance, concentration is the utmost requirement to play independently. When kids engage in such activities, gradually their concentration levels become excellent. This can then be applied to other areas like studying, sports and overall lifestyle as well. This is a benefit of independent play for babies that is lifelong in essence.
Creativity is another benefit that kids can enjoy while playing independently. They have to think about different ideas on their own. No one is there to guide them towards an idea. This is a harbinger of excellent creativity in kids. Although, in the beginning, the children may face some difficulties. However, with the passage of time, this becomes a routine thing for them. Creativity emerging in the domain of play can then extend to other areas of everyday life quite easily.
3. Self Soothing and Self Regulation
Self soothing is a very important thing for babies. It allows them to be independent for solving their problems, no matter how small or big they are!
Self-help, self-reliance and self-trust are also some of the qualities that can flourish quite successfully in children who tend to play independently. These qualities help children in other areas as well. For example, they can calm themselves easily on their own while going to sleep. When in upcoming years of life, they have to wait for their turns, they can do so successfully and without throwing any tantrums at all. Such children keep on using these qualities in their adult lives as well. Resultantly, they never depend on other people throughout their lives.
All these qualities lead towards a sense of confidence among the children. The feeling that they are in charge of the situation makes them confident in their abilities. Judgements and comparisons are never involved in independent play. therefore, children can easily go with the flow and gain expertise in this routine.
4. Full Experience of Life
Independent play opens a new world for the kids. Previously, they have been playing according to the rules and views of their parents. However, while playing independently they can go through a highly enriched experience of life. Early independent play hardwires the different experiences in the subconscious of children. This knowledge can help them ahead throughout their lives.
This is a time when your child can forget everything about the world around him. He/she becomes the creator and create new experiences of their own. The imaginary world of a child is always extremely rich and sophisticated. Independent play can trigger that world quite successfully.
Just like with every aspect of childhood and parenting, independent play also requires time and patience on behalf of the parents. Fostering this habit in children vary from kid to kid. Some kids are naturally prone to be comfortable in their own company. However, others do not feel so immediately. For example how long should a 3 year-old play alone will vary between your baby and his cousins, even within siblings too. Therefore, being a parent, it is your duty to keep the process of learning natural and fun. Trust me! Eventually your child will start playing independently and you will see that independent play for babies is immensely beneficial.
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