Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Teach Your Child to Play Independently #1

It was the time of day that we play together doing school, reading, crafts, and playing games. Today I had some fun things planned. But, my kiddos threw a monkey wrench into my plans!
"Mommy, we want to just play together for a while."
Now, at first I was a little taken back.  Did my kids just ask for Mommy not to play with them?

Yep, they did.

For an instant, I felt like a child on the elementary playground after my best friends said that they didn't want to play with me.  My first reaction was to let them know what was good for them and lecture them about how some kids would love to have their mommy play with them.

But I didn't. 

After I let go of my pride, I realized I had just received a huge compliment from my kiddos

There request meant that my kids didn't need to be entertained.  And, it meant that they enjoyed being together and just wanted some "kid" time. 

So, I spent the time doing some adult chores and left them to playing.  After a while, they were ready for Mommy time and I was happy to oblige.

But in talking to moms, this is a unique situation.  Teaching children to play independently is a question that I am asked frequently.  And in the child-centered culture that we live in, I understand why.

Why Are Children Not Able to Play Independently?

There is a silent thought among stay-at-home moms, "She plays with her kids more than I do. She must be a better mom than I am." 

Don't believe me?

Read Facebook.  Moms write posts spouting all of the wondering things that they did with their kiddos that day.  Comments pour in stating, "You are a great mom!" and "Your kids are so blessed to be in such a fun family."

What would happen if I wrote, "I did dishes while my kids played with trains in the playroom."

Yah......that one won't collect hundreds of "Likes!"

Media also has a huge role to play in this.  Children are constantly entertained and the culture thinks we must entertain them to keep them out of trouble.  (The whole bigger-is-better concept.)  I believe simple is better sometimes. 

We live in a busy, child-centered culture and people praise moms who live on the floor with their kids.  

Going against the flow, I believe a parent can play with their child too much.  Woo! Did your heart stop for a moment? Maybe, your shoulders relaxed a little bit.  I also firmly believe that children need to be able to entertain themselves.

Tomorrow, I am going to share why this is so important and how we have taught our children to play independently.  


  1. Aww, it's kind of bittersweet isn't it! But just think, it's a little bit of independence which is also good! :)


  2. Totally agree with you, Heidi! It is a bit bitter-sweet though when they want to play without mommy, but good for them nonetheless. :)

    1. Sometimes we have to choose what is best for our kiddos and not what mommy wants.


The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.