Tips for helping children play by themselves

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Without the benefit of sending the kids off to summer camps and continued social distancing practices that will keep many adults working from home, many children will find themselves having to play on their own.

Here are a few tips to help your children play by themselves, according to

1. Give your child attention first: Spend some one-on-one time with them before asking them to play independently.

2. Get your child started: Inspire your kids to get started by helping them build a fort or start a block city.

3. Don’t interrupt: Once they are playing by themselves, try to leave them alone as much as possible.

4. Don’t jump to accommodate every request: Try not to drop everything and retrieve something your child wants to play with. Let them focus on what they’ve got to play with.

5. Admire creations, but stay out of the way: Admire what’s going on, comment on how nicely they are playing and maybe ask a question. Then it’s back to work for everybody.

6. Suggest open-ended toys and activities: Try to keep most of their toys open-ended and creative.

7. Don’t sweat a mess: If playing is going smoothly, don’t complain about toys being all over. When playtime is over, spend a few minutes to pick up together.

8. Your child will improve with practice: If they are not used to playing alone, try setting a timer and tell them when it rings you can do something together.