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Teaching your toddler to play alone

Not only will it allow you some uninterrupted time, it will assist your toddler with becoming more developmentally savvy, impendent and creative. If you find yourself constantly entertaining your toddler and making sure you are interacting with them non stop, you in fact might be deterring them from natural curiosities an challenges.  As long as their play area is safe and child proofed in every way, allow them to “do it their way”.  Sometimes this will be loud and messy but it is all for the greater good; you get to finish making dinner or fold laundry and they learn a new skill.

The best way to do it is by playing with them first in that space for 15-20 minutes and giving them your full attention.  Once they are into it, leave them be with the toys and start doing your own task in the nearby area.
Seeing you nearby will allow them to look up and glance at you while they are playing with their toys.  Feeling safe is their main need at that age and it will allow them to stay focused on what they are doing. If they are constantly looking for you and calling you, then that becomes their game.

Making this work will not be an easy process especially knowing that toddlers have very short attention spans.  By age two, a toddler’s attention span is about 5 to 6 minutes. Three-year-olds can pay attention for up to 8 minutes and four-year-olds up to about 10 minutes. It is key to set realistic expectations for your child, and yourself .  This is why you can rotate different play stations, where they spend some time playing with blocks, and then some time with books, and finally some time making playdoh.  This will require some of your involvement and over time less and less, as they simply will learn to move around and find new things to do and use their imagination.


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