It can be hard to let your children explore, especially when you let go of their little hands or allow them to channel their creative energy into a messy project inside on a rainy day. Encouraging independent play with your toddlers will allow them to feel free but know they can return to a safe, loving caregiver whenever they want.
Make sure your child has toys that are right for them at their age and stage. Too many toys can be overwhelming and overstimulating. If they’re too challenging or too below their age range, your child may experience frustration. Ensure that your home is child-friendly, from child-proofed furniture to safe ways to climb, run, and explore. Your child will get bored, irritated, and depend on your constant help if there are too many rules. And don’t be afraid to get them to explore new objects, too! Get out the pots and pans, or throw some toilet paper tubes or other safe household items in their play area. Learn more ways you can encourage independent play here.
- Cabell FRN: Foster Care
- Cabell FRN: Early Care and Education
- Cabell FRN: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Resources
- Cabell FRN Quick Guide and Other Resources
- CDC: Special Playtime
- Zero to Three: Play
- Zero to Three: Power of Play
- Harvard University Center on the Developing Child
- Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Child Development Insitute: Playing with Your Child
- Utah State University: The Importance of Playing with Your Child
- Parents: Learning to Play with Your Kids
- Today’s Parent: Age-By-Age Guide to Playing with Your Child
- Care.com: 8 Easy Hand Games for Kids