No parent could always be attentive to their children for 24 hours. Thus, teaching your child to be independent, especially preschoolers, is an essential life skill they need to start their school years. But, for most parents, it could be a difficult journey. As children try to adjust from being fully dependent on their guardians, they may show frustration by crying and throwing tantrums.
Also, they may experience separation anxiety from their parents. Thus, you must know how to properly help your child learn to be independent so that it wouldn’t cause any emotional trauma to them through various activities like independent play.
Here’s what you can do as a parent:
Learn About Their Idea of Fun
If you struggle to leave your child in their play area, paying attention to the stuff they are drawn to could be an advantage. Try to think of the things your child usually gets. For example, they always try to get your makeup sets. In that case, get them clean makeup essentials that are child-friendly or buy them toys to play with.
Through this, you can provide the items they need to catch their attention. At preschool age, they try to mimic what the people around them do, so having miniature replicas of items they’re interested in keeps them occupied.
Don’t fear your child being independent because, in American-style parenting, early child independence is encouraged as they view it as a way for them to have a productive adulthood when guardians are not present anymore.
Similarly, in Australian households, individualism is taught and given value to encourage family members to stand on their own and chase their aspirations so that they become determined and responsible adults when they grow up.
Adding toys in your child’s play area and seeking to know their definition of fun are also great ways for them to build hobbies that interest them. Nowadays, it’s easier to find toys suitable for any kid’s age because of the advent of the Internet, like legos, cooking sets, or even collectible figurines that they could turn into a hobby. Thus, see to it that you also check an online hobby store to get the best deals for your children.
Build A Safe Child-Play Space
Children enjoy and are curious about things they see, touch, smell, and taste since they use their senses to understand and discover more about the world around them. That being said, ensure that you build a safe child-play safe where they can freely explore.
Doing this allows you to be at peace that your child is kept away from items that may choke them or places that are not child-friendly. Also, children would appreciate it whenever you give them the freedom to play, and they don’t feel restricted.
Make sure they don’t have any access to electric current as it may cause accidents. Also, provide toys that are suitable for their age range. Lastly, in finding the spot where their play place would be, consider finding a location where you could easily see them since they’re still young and may still require parental supervision.
Suddenly leaving your child alone, thinking it could teach them how to play independently, will not benefit them. It could make them distrust you, and they may burst into tears. Thus, do it gradually until they get used to it.
It’s best if you could give them your full attention as you try to help them familiarize themselves with their play place and for them to know that they’re safe. Put your phone on silent and participate in the games they enjoy. Then, introduce independence by limiting your time with them, even for only a few minutes.
Soon enough, your child will start enjoying playing rather than getting distracted by you coming and going.
Give Toys That Allows For An Open-Ended Play Experience
Open-ended play is any play that allows your child to play in whatever way they want. There would be no correct way to play with a certain toy and no strict rules they need to follow. Through this, your child could find freedom and fun when playing alone as they know they have control over the toys they have.
Some toys you can bring to them are dolls, blocks, arts and crafts materials, or wooden train sets. But before leaving them with the toys, assess each item to see if it’s safe for preschool use. If not, consider replacing them.
Although toys are often expensive, especially educational ones, it’s still a great investment for your child’s development, allowing them to be creative and imaginative.
Establish Independence In Their Daily Routine
Parents should not fear teaching their children independence or feel guilty about it. As children, they could be easily conditioned by the daily routines they go through. They will learn much better if you try to establish independence in their playtime and other activities.
For instance, your child may always expect your presence if you spend every minute with them. Also, if you always do every simple task for your child, they learn to be dependent and expect it always. But, the positive note here is that as a parent, you have control over what you want to tolerate with your child.
Try to establish independence in simple forms like teaching them to clean up their toys, how to wear slip-on shoes properly, and more to train them to be more independent.
There’s no shortcut to being a good parent, and teaching your child to be independent doesn’t make you a bad parent. Instead, it’s something you have to establish for your child to be able to learn how to do things by themselves, and you can start in small steps, like playing independently.
To keep you guided on this, ensure you’ve read the tips above to provide the best possible ways you could help them in this journey.