Independent Play

by Kirsetin K. Morello

When my son was a toddler, "quiet play time" was an essential part of our days. To help my son learn how to play independently, I gradually introduced this period of quiet activity to our schedule:

I prepared by stocking up on creative, engaging toys, such as DUPLO bricks, plastic kitchen toys and wooden blocks. To start off, we quietly played with these toys together. After a few days, we set aside time for him to play while I stayed in the room but worked on my own project — such as folding laundry.

When I felt my son was ready to play by himself, I put a baby gate across his bedroom door so he could play safely without having his door shut. I set a kitchen timer and told him quiet time would be over when the bell rang.

We started slowly, with only 10 minutes of quiet time. Every few days, I added another five minutes until we had worked up to a full hour. My son soon learned to play happily in his room, looking at books and building towers of blocks until the timer let us both know quiet time was over.


This article appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Kirsetin K. Morello. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.

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