I don’t know about you all, but my 3 year old has always been pretty dependent on James and me for everything. She’s not very good at the whole independent play thing.
For example, when she wants to play in the playroom she needs one of us in there with her to play. Once she’s there and playing, I can step out of the room to do a few things, but it’s not long before she’s calling out wanting me to come back in and sit with her. Also, as much as we take her to the park to play, you would think that she could climb, slide, run around, etc… all by herself. Nope, again we have to be standing near her pretty much at all times.
I just kept thinking I needed to get her into some activities because I thought it would foster some independence. We started with gymnastics because she loves to climb, swing on bars and always walking on ledges like a balance beam.
Her first day was a little rough. I had to hang around and help her at the first couple of stations, but towards the end of the class she was able to get through the stations with me on the sidelines cheering her on. Since then, she has gotten so much better. She still remains a little shy right at drop-off as I help her into the sitting area before her class starts. But, I do watch from the parents viewing area. Each week, she gains more confidence in herself and her ability to try new things.
Encouraging her, or any toddler, to play independently is a daunting task, but it is something that will just take a little time. Here are a few things we are doing at home to continue to build her confidence and independence:
1. Slowly creating more distance. We are easing into this one. Of course, she continues to ask we that go into the playroom with her. But, as she gets into what she’s doing moving further away into another area of the room, or even taking a little extra time out of the room doing other to-do list tasks
2. Giving more space by not checking into often once we do get out of the room. I mean I finally get a minute to get a few things done, why ruin it by popping in and risk her asking for me to stay.
3. Acknowledge and giving positive compliments when she does play independently or tries something new.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a fantastic week!
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