Does your toddler know how to entertain himself? It's a valuable skill—and one that offers many important developmental benefits.
Independent play helps kids develop a sense of self-reliance and self-identity. It stimulates creativity and original thinking. It also gives children the opportunity to interact with the world on their own terms, making important discoveries and facilitating "Ah-hah!" moments.
By about one year, most tots have the ability to entertain themselves for up to 20 minutes. But many toddlers have a hard time amusing themselves (except possibly when they are up to something!).
How do you encourage solo play? Treat it as a process. Begin by aiming for brief periods of independent play—then gradually work up to longer sessions. Here are some easy ways to get started:
Eventually, your child will become engrossed in his own activities—and learn that he doesn't need you to supply all his entertainment.
Teach your child to enjoy her own company now—you are giving a gift that will serve her well for the rest of his life!