Get baby to play alone

How to Get Your Baby to Play Alone

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Have you ever dreamt of having an uninterrupted breakfast with coffee in hand and it’s so peaceful and quiet with no sound of a baby crying or clinging to your legs? Well, you can rest easy because by teaching your baby to play alone you can turn this dream into reality.  Not only does independent playtime allows parents to take a breather, but it also helps in developing baby’s cognitive and thinking process. Some of the benefits of getting baby to plane alone are:

  • It helps babies in concentrating on an object and they also get to learn how it works without distraction.
  • Helps in increasing child’s attention span.
  • Freedom allows babies to get creative and discover new ways to entertain themselves.
  • It teaches babies orderliness such as by showing them where to put their toy after they are done playing with it.
  • It also helps parents get the household chores done without any interruption. This way the parents can give their undivided attention to the baby later without having to worry about cooking, doing dishes or laundry, etc. So, it’s a win-win situation in both cases.

Every child needs to have an appropriate duration and environment according to their age for solo playing activities. The table below can help you in making necessary adjustments according to your baby’s skills. This is a rough guide and you can make changes according to what suits you or your baby the best.

Skills Time Environment / Place
Baby can’t sit up unassisted 10-20 mins. (2 times a day) Playmat / gym or baby blanket
Baby can sit up unassisted 15 to 30 mins. (2 times a day) Playpen
Baby can crawl 45 minutes (once a day) Playpen
Baby can walk without support (15-24 months) 1 hour Room/nursery

Now that we are clear about how long and where a baby should have their independent playtime, let’s see how we can get the baby to play alone. Use the tips below to get your baby to plane alone.

#1. Give your undivided attention to the baby several times a day. This can be done by reading a storybook to them, tickling their tummy, playing with blocks, etc. If the baby gets enough mommy or daddy time during the day, they will be more open to solo playtime at other times.

#2. Teach your child that it is okay to be alone for some time and how much fun it can be. Teach this even before they start crawling. Just place some attractive, colorful toys in the baby’s crib or playpen while you hang around nearby or maybe even try leaving the room for some time. This will teach them self soothing and how to stay focused on different things. It is a learned behavior and if you don’t teach them, they will never learn to settle themselves. Just keep an eye on them from time to time to make sure that they are safe.

#3. If he is still crying when you leave him with toys then teach him how to play with them by pressing the keys of a baby piano, jiggling the rattle so that the baby can hear that funny sound and get engrossed in it.

#4. Designate the same time during the day for playtime and make it a routine. Avoid interacting with your baby during this time but do keep tabs on them discretely, quite often.

#5. Engage your little one in activities similar to the one you are performing e.g. if you are cooking dinner in the kitchen then make them sit in their highchair and give them some wooden spatula or spoon similar to the ones you are using. Sometimes babies are just curious about you and want to see what you are doing. So, in this way, the baby will keep himself occupied while you will be able to get the work done as well as keep him within your sight.

#6. Provide your baby with age-appropriate toys to keep them entertained. If they get bored with a toy then before introducing a new toy show them how to use their old toy in a new way. This will encourage them to explore new possibilities.

#7. Sit with your baby for some time during playtime and observe which toy they like the best and what are they most curious about. This will facilitate you choose the appropriate products for them.

#8. Talk with your little one after their playtime is over. Show enthusiasm as they babble about the toys and games they played. Give positive reinforcement to show how happy you are with them. 

#9. Babies can sometimes get bored from playing with the same thing in the same room. So, changing scenery may become helpful. If they were playing in the playpen, take them where you are working e.g. if you are working on clipping coupons, paying bills or sorting out your mail then give them the paper scrapes. This will keep them distracted while you will get the work done.

#10. Check why the baby is crying. Does he really want you to play with him or is he being fussy for another reason? Maybe he is hungry, thirsty, needs to get his diaper changed or tired? Tend to their basic needs and see if it does the trick.

#11. Start slowly by engaging your baby in their favorite activity. Play with them for some time and then stop and just sit there talking but not doing anything else. Gradually, increase the distance over the next few days. Once you see that the baby has started getting comfortable with the distance then you can try leaving the room but make them understand that you are just around the corner and will be right there when they need you. Interact with them every now and then.

It is time to get your baby to Play alone

Above are the tips you can use to get your baby to play alone. Once the child has gotten used to the idea of independent playtime, don’t overuse it and keep it limited to a designated time in their routine or else the baby will become frustrated. It has immense benefits for both of you. Be encouraged and hang in there if you are just starting. You will get the hang of it and once you do, it will become second nature to your child and then he will be able to enjoy this, a lot.

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