5 ways to get your baby to play alone


Your baby is delightfully curious and playful. But if she doesn’t have someone to interact with – especially you – she cries for attention.

You don’t always have the time to sit and amuse her, so she needs to learn how to entertain herself. Here’s how:

1. Leave a small toy in her cot once she is asleep

When she wakes up in the morning, she is less likely to call for you to amuse her if she has ready access to her toys.

That’s why it makes sense to ensure that some of her favourites are within easy reach when she wakes up. (Don’t put them there until she dozes off, or she’ll start playing with them at night!)

She’ll soon get into the habit of playing alone when she wakes, without depending on you.

At this age, she might occupy herself quietly for 10 minutes before calling out for you – and that’s a good start.

2. Rotate her play items

It’s very easy to get into the habit of giving your little one the same toys, day after day. You know these are the ones she likes and they’ll keep her busy for longer.

That means her cupboards are probably full of items that she hasn’t actually played with for a long time.

Yet, she is attracted to novelty. So make an effort to rotate her play items every couple of weeks.

She’ll play with those “new” toys on her own more than with her usual ones because she is so amused by their unfamiliarity.

3. Let her imagination take over

Playing with your little one is great fun because she is interested in everything. As you sit together, you may feel tempted to join in.

But give her the opportunity to play and to develop new ways independently, even though you are right beside her.

If you are passive occasionally, her natural inquisitiveness and innate desire to learn will overtake her desire for your attention – you’ll find her playing on her own spontaneously.

The more she does this in your presence, the less she’ll call for you to entertain her.

4. Explore beyond toys

Your young child learns from observing the world around her. She can be fascinated by the things that appear totally uninteresting to you, such as an ant climbing up the inside of the glass, or a piece of crumpled paper lying in the corner.

To her, these are rich sources of entertainment. She doesn’t learn only from playing with “educational” toys or looking at books.

She won’t think about seeking your attention if her curiosity is triggered. So, be prepared to stand back when she starts to explore on her own.

5. Offer her choices

She will learn to entertain herself more easily when she is encouraged to make decisions. For instance, you could offer her two pull-along toys and ask her to pick one.

Encouraging her to make basic choices helps give her some responsibility for amusing herself, and develops her independence in play.

She’ll soon start to make other decisions about how to have fun, without relying on you.

(Photo: 123RF.com)

Also read: 
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Why your baby takes so long to recover from runny nose and cold
How to choose books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

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