Most parents are aware that they should be encouraging their children to partake daily in independent play, as it is essential to their development and education, but many find it difficult due to clingy children and worries over safety. As during independent playtime, young children are continuing to develop their motor skills, emotional understanding and confidence, all of which forms a valuable skillset that will be used throughout their lives, parents should make a special effort to encourage this activity. As much as it is important to encourage children to play independently, it is also essential that parents promote safe play to prevent serious accidents. Through a number of ways, parents can encourage their children to have fun whilst playing independently and safely.
Designated Play Areas
One of the easiest ways to promote safe and independent play is by having designated play areas. Parents should discourage their children from playing in certain areas in the home such as the kitchen and bathrooms by showing that these rooms are not fun to play in, and only keep toys in the room that are considered safe, so that when children want to play they will naturally go to these places.
By having others areas that are shown as more fun places to play, parents can easily prevent their children from playing in hazardous areas that have a heightened risk of dangers and accidents. If struggling to keep children away from these areas, or from playing independently, parents may want to use baby gates to keep them in the play areas to encourage them to continue or begin their lone play.
When prompting independent play, it is especially important to make sure that the area that they are playing within is safe as you will not be supervising the activities. In lounges, you will want to consider installing safety plugs and DVD protectors to stop little hands damaging themselves and electrical items.
If a parent wants to encourage independent play in their home’s garden, then they will want to make sure that the area is safe. Using safety surfacing, like this, on hard outdoor surfaces will help prevent serious accidents should a child trip or fall.
Discuss the Risks
For smaller children this might not be possible as they may not necessarily understand the concept of safety, but parents may want to consider discussing the risks of certain items and why it is important not to touch them during independent play. Although teaching of potential accidents is useful for preventing to help prevent them, parents should be gentle in their approach as to not scare their children off play entirely and leave them wanting to cling to their parents more.
A Variety of Activities
When trying to get your child to begin independent play, it is important that they are introduced to a wide variety of activities. Parents can use different forms of play to help their child be more independent in their activities. For example, board games are a great way to play together as a family, whereas playing with figures is a more independent activity, so when a child starts to play with figures, a parent could use this as a time to distance themselves from their child and allow them to play independently.