In a world where we constantly stimulate the child, this comes as a huge surprise. However, alone time or solo play is extremely important for babies.
Solo play refers to babies being left by themselves to play. This means that the baby explores his environment, becomes self-reliant, focusses his attention, learns from the mistakes he makes and finds solutions to simple problems. According to research, this learning opportunity has important consequences of providing a boost to his self-esteem.
Solo play encourages a child to be on his own and to become his own friend. It teaches a child to enjoy his own company.
Also, encouraging solo play may give parents a few minutes to carry out a chore.
Solo play doesn’t mean putting a child in a room and leaving. It is carried out in a graded manner. The following points need to be kept in mind while initiating solo play.
1.)How old is your child?
The older the child, the more time he can spend alone. For babies about age 4-6 months, you can begin with 5 minutes. And increase as the child grows.
2.)What is the temperament of your baby?
A laid back and even tempered baby may be more willing to explore rather than a demanding or clingy baby. For the latter, one can start small.
3.)Make it a consistent activity.
Set aside some ‘alone-time’ every day. Consistency is the key to establishing the concept of solo play.
4.)Safety is paramount.
Place the baby in a child-proofed place with some toys and books. You can start by playing with the child and then removing yourself from the immediate vicinity. Babies under one year of age should not be left alone. So be within earshot, keeping an eye on them but not stimulating in any way. For older babies, you can leave the room for short periods but return.
5.)If your baby cries or acts clingy
Start the play activity and leave when the child gets engrossed in it. Ensure you tell the baby that you’ll be back soon.
Remember, it’s a process, and it’s a great positive learning experience.Though time spent with parents cannot be discounted and is irreplaceable, a little ‘me-time’ for babies is a good idea. Let your child explore!