Independent playtime is an essential part of our everyday routine. There are so many benefits not only for kids, but also for parents!
What is independent playtime?
Independent playtime is a daily scheduled time when your child plays alone, or possibly with a sibling. This occurs away from the parents, typically on a blanket or in a pack n play for babies or in the child’s room or a separate room/area of the house for older children. Parents choose the time of day and with which toys the child plays with. The time varies depending on the child’s age, but usually lasts no longer than an hour.
Benefits of independent play for the child.
The benefits of independent play are listed in On Becoming Pre-Toddler Wise.
- Mental Focusing Skills – Independent playtime helps a child concentrate on an object or activity and apply knowledge to that object/activity.
- Sustained Attention Span – Independent playtime helps a child to concentrate on a single object or activity for an extended period of time.
- Creativity – When given boundaries and limitations during play, children will learn to think creatively in order to be entertained by what is available to them. (Free playtime is also beneficial for creativity, but in a different way).
- Self-play Adeptness – When children are regularly made to play independently they will become adept at it and be less dependent on parents, others, or outside influence to be entertained.
- Orderliness – When children are required to participate in cleaning up and keep their play area clean, they learn orderliness.
Benefits of independent playtime for the parent.
- Get Things Done – If a child is able to play independently, that gives the parent a chance to get a few quick things done like the dishes, a load of laundry, etc.
- Intentional Parenting – Being able to get things done while your children are playing by themselves enables you to be more intentional with your parenting. You are free to play and interact with your kids without being distracted by the dirty dishes in the sink or the pile of laundry on the couch or whatever chore was at the top of your to-do list.
- Time For Yourself – When your children are able to play independently without the need for you to entertain them, you’re able to get time to yourself much more easily. And the best thing about it? It’s guilt free time because your kids are happily playing on their own! Because my kids have learned to play independently, I’m able to have a conversation on the phone without constant (or any) interruption. All I have to say is that I need them to play on their own for a bit without interrupting me, and I’ve got some time to myself!
If you haven’t incorporated independent playtime into your daily routine, I highly encourage you to do so! It is a valuable skill that you won’t regret teaching your child.
Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise-Friendly Blog Network! We’re all posting on the topic of “independent playtime” today. Be sure to check out our BFBN Pinterest page for the rest of the posts and others! And if you’re not already following me on Pinterest, you can check out my Pinterest page here.
BFBN Independent Playtime Posts
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: How to Child-Proof Your Space for Independent Playtime
The Journey of Parenthood: Independent Playtime: A Simple How To
Mama’s Organized Chaos: Preparing for Baby #2 With the Use of Independent Playtime
Team Cartwright: Turning the Morning Nap into Independent Playtime
Twinning Babywise: Top Ten Toys for Independent Playtime