Many parents feel guilty when they see their one-year-old son sitting on the floor doing nothing but watching a fly on the wall. “Time to take care of him / her,” suggests their talking cricket. But in doing so they ruin the child's pleasure of discovering the “housefly” phenomenon.
As early as the third or fourth month of a baby's life, mothers and fathers can (and should) encourage independent play
Furthermore, the little one is not only observing the funny little animal: he is in fact strengthening his self-esteem, having fun regardless of the presence of an adult at his side and is exercising his ability to concentrate, an important prerequisite for future academic success.
As early as the third or fourth month of a baby's life, parents can (and should) encourage independent play. Here are the six golden rules.
1) Don't get in the way
If your baby is already able to "keep busy" on his own, do what you can not to disturb him. This applies to the older ones, but also to the little ones. Many newborns immediately after awakening lie quietly in the cot for a while, playing with their hands or making moans. These moments when the child is self-sufficient are the beginning of autonomous play.
Tip: you can extend this phase by placing colored rattles, a small mirror, bells or plush animals on the bed or fixing to the side.
2) Stimulating environment
If the child is lying down eg. on a blanket, put some toys within reach. Babies who are crawling and those who are already walking need a safe and stimulating environment, perhaps with some cushions to climb and objects to stack or break down.
The advice: offer these toys only when the child plays alone, then put them away; in this way the interest increases.
3) Always the same routine
Young children are better at picking up their own pace of play if they have the opportunity to regularly be alone for a while. The ideal are pre-established moments of play (once or twice a day). Create a quiet atmosphere, without the television on or without the distraction of the voices coming from the radio in the background.
Tip: Doesn't your child play alone? Start playing too (but not with him) and, as soon as you "immerse yourself" in his game, dedicate yourself to another activity.
4) Out of the room
Playing alone means continuing to do so even if the parent leaves the room for a few minutes.
You can get your baby used to it from the fourth month of life: choose a time when the baby is fascinated by something and leave the room. Extend your absence gradually.
Tip: If your child doesn't like being alone, practice with him. Warn him eg. that you have to go to the kitchen, bathroom etc. for a moment. and from there still maintain voice contact.
5) Interventions in small doses
The ball rolls away, the cubes do not stay stacked: there are constantly situations in which it seems that the little one needs help. Don't rush to him, wait a few moments. Maybe he can solve the problem himself.
The advice: sometimes even a little encouragement is enough, eg. the question: "What can you still do with the ball?" And the little one starts playing alone again.
6) Half an hour expired
All children can learn to play on their own. But how long they do it also depends on their nature. Usually children under the age of one are quiet alone for five to ten minutes, those between one and three years old 15 to 30 minutes. However, the important thing is to stay nearby.
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