How many of us can say they have a thousand hours in the day to spend time with their kids? Reality is we can’t & what makes it even harder is kids usually crave the attention they deserve. Although we may secretly love being wanted so much. It just isn’t always plausible, but what if I told you there are ways we can give them that same attention, just not take so long in doing so! Rather than spending hours (although we all would love to) We can give them that same attention in a considerably lot less time if we do it correctly! Fact of the matter is, we have other stuff to do, like preparing the dinner & other jobs that have to be done, boring as those tasks may be, they ain’t gonna get done by themselves!
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Encouraging solitary play can help children become better learners when they get older, as they’ll already be used to the idea that certain tasks, like homework & reading, are solo activities. Creating without any outside influence can also help boost a child’s self-esteem & make them feel like they can accomplish things alone.
Lots of parents believe they should constantly engage with their children, but that mentality leaves no time for getting things done, or even getting in some me time! This creates stress that your kids can pick up on. So following these steps on getting the kids to play alone will help you maximize the quality of time you spend with them & help them gradually become independent in play & not need much encouragement to begin branching out in solitary play alone.
Setting the Scene –
It’s no use telling a child “go play” they will only be overwhelmed with things to do, easily get bored or crave for you to do the activity with them. So the best trick is to give them something specific to do, provide all of the materials & then let them go all out! Set up some craft materials that are easy to manage & give them a theme or choose something together & then watch them create up a storm!
Challenge them –
Most kids need a little boost to help them get in touch with their creative sides. Suggest something unusual, if you can’t think of anything don’t be ashamed to turn to our old faithful friend Pinterest. Once you’ve set them up, move out of the way. Provide dolls or Lego, something they love to play with & ask them to make up a story, a play or a show! Tell them you’ll be back in ten minutes to hear all about it. Increase the time you are away by five minutes the next time & before you know it, they are playing alone & having fun. Then you can sit together & they can replay you the story & you can write it down together this equals quality time together!
Show em how it’s done –
Observation is key here! Kids mimic our behavior, good & bad (unfortunately) so, for instance, if you want them to have a love of reading, the best way is by letting them see you enjoying reading! Model reading on your own for them, show them how an adult can enjoy reading for pleasure. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you more than once to drop everything, kick your feet up & stick your nose into a good book – it’s all for the kids benefit, honest! 😛
Get them to be active –
Allowing kids to be active alone is a great way to keep them occupied & burn some energy. Try to introduce your child to some gentle exercises. While I don’t encourage Screen Time I will say, this is probably the only exception I make when it comes to having any.
There are plenty of great active videos for kids including Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. If you don’t think your child will be into it, just wait & see, you might be surprised. Do it with them a couple times to introduce them to it.
You can even get them their own yoga/fitness outfit & mat, you’ll see the benefit, because following instructional videos like these, makes them generally better listeners, all while calming them down & relaxing their body & mind after a busy day of learning.
Get them to chill –
A tactic you can use that will have them keeping themselves occupied for way longer than you think is by creating a quiet corner. Kids need me time, too believe it or not! So try setting up a little space for them somewhere in the house with a table with relaxing calming activities, such as kinetic sand, play dough or making slime. There are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest! Mindless, relaxing activities can keep them calm, busy & engaged. You can even let them decorate their area with their own artwork, build a den to lie in. Whatever it takes to allow them to create a space they love and are excited to go spend time in.
Introduce mind body & soul time –
MBST (one to one time) is something I’ve learned through a course called Positive Parenting Solutions. Mind, Body, & Soul Time is time spent one-on-one with each of your children, consistently & individually with you, on an activity they choose. This can be for any age, toddler through to teen!
You can introduce this one to one time by –
- Identifying one ten-minute block of time you can spend with your child per day. (You can gradually work up to two times per day.)
- Let your kids know that you’re going to start doing something new that you’re both going to love. Explain Mind, Body & Soul Time, & name it something that makes sense for both of you.
- Ask them to make a list (on paper or in their heads) of fun things you can do together in ten minutes. Offer a few ideas to get them started.
- Create a visual schedule (in pictures or words depending on the age of your child) of when you’ll do MBST & post it on the fridge. (Ex. MBST falls after lunch or after school)
Once you’ve begun to introduce MBST you’ll find your time together is more well spent, leaving the child more satisfied that he/she has had an adequate amount of time with you & will help them to find it easier to have some solitary play time.
Hey! Do you find it hard to get the children to play & be active alone? Or do you have some tips you can add to this? Let me know in the comments below & don’t forget to share!