Top 8 reasons why alone time is crucial for a child’s growth and development.
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Aug 23, 2021
For children alone time would refer to the time the child gets to his disposal to use how he pleases. During alone time, the child seeks at spending time on his own without the aid of his parents, peers or friends. It is not the same as being lonely; rather, it is an opportunity to be with oneself. Studies indicate that children that know how to fill their alone time learn to engage themselves and rarely feel isolated and lonely.
What are some of the important skills children learn from being alone ?
1.Creativity is enhanced- Being on their own leads to enhance the imagination of a child.
2.Children learn not to complain of boredom- Since we live in a world of instant gratification and low attention span, children complain of boredom often. As they learn to spend more and more time on their own, they will put an effort to find out what they can do with their extra time. As they learn to fill their time with more interesting activities, acting out their imaginations, learn something new or explore their surroundings, the child learns never to feel lonely. As a result the child learns healthy independence. This teaches them to have fun independently
3.Quiet down time – “Time out”, is a non- violent punishment strategy used by many parents to discipline their children. The child is forced to stay in a room alone for 10 minutes, without any distractors, as a punishment forWhile in the room, the child gets enough time to evaluate and think what caused this consequence. The likelihood of misbehaviour is therefore reduced due to the negative consequence of staying alone.
4.Emotional stability- Spending time alone encourages calmness in the child. The child learns to soothe herself. As a result, the child may not seek continual emotional and peer support.
5.Value of companionship- Alone time satisfies a child’s need to sometimes be alone. Once they have spent enough time on their own, they will now seek out to play in groups comprising of peers or others. It helps them develop their social independence.
6.Decision making and responsibility- Spending time on his/her own would further make a child more aware of the actions and consequences. The child may understand better about how responsible actions lead to a positive consequences.
7.Problem solving and self- discovery- When a parent is not constantly coming to the rescue of the child on every front the child is then forced to address the problem at hand and discover ways to approach and resolve it. This helps in the mental dvelopment of the child to a large extent.
8.Prepares them for school- Studies show that children who were comfortable spending alone time at home, had fewer adjustment problems when starting school, going to school refusal or separation anxieties. They were found to be less insecure in new environments and showed curiosity in exploring new places and activities.
Most Important: This allows the parent to have some down time too.
What are some of the steps to independent play?
Parents should ensure that their home is child proof. Ensure your home is organised. Everything has a place and everything in its place. Ideally the quiet time could happen in the child’s room that has been child proofed already and contains all the necessary opportunity as well as material for a child to spend quality time by themselves. Yet there are a couple of measures that you may want to take care of before you encourage the alone time, these are as follows:
1.Provide a safe place- Making sure that the area where the child is going to spend the alone time is safe and devoid of any unsafe things of toys may be a great start.
2.Drowning- Make sure that bathrooms are locked and tubs are empty. Placing covers over tanks and other large containers that hold water may ensure the childs safety.
3. Strangluation / Fire & Electrical accidents- Making sure that any kind of wires , pipes or ropes are not lying around to entice a child resulting in damaging circumstances isthe right way to go.
4.Safe and secure furniture- The parents could make sure that the furniture in the room is secure and not loose and ill fitted to avoid any harm coming to the child due to the same.
5.Chemicals/ Medication& Plastic bags- The child could be made aware of the harmful effects of playing with a plastic bag or the cleaning supplies that may be stored in the Bathroom; this would make theless anxious about leaving the child to play on his/her own.
What are some common tools to encourage Independent Play?
Providing a safe envoirnment is a crucial necessity for of a child’s alone time but making sure the child also has enough stimulation and tools to have an effective and productive alone time is also important. The key steps that a parent may take in order to achieve the maximum results are as follows:
1. Provide fascinating materials: Creative outlet is very important and for that a parent may ensure that art supplies like colored paper, glue , paints are all provided for the child. Even puzzeles and story books can be provided so a child could engage his/her own self.
2. Provide ample opportunities and encourage your child to play alone: Appreciating the end result of each time that the child spends on his/her own may be a great way to build a pattern with the child where the child is not forced to spend time on his own but to spend on his own.
3. Respect the child’s time: A parent neeeds to respect the value of the alone time, interrupting the child when he is engaged in independent play may defeat the purpose of the act.
4. Making yourself less available: This just might be the key to having a succesful alone time of the child. Making the child aware that though the parent may be around yet , the child needs to manage and make the most out of his alone time is very important.
5. Follow a schedule: It is important that a schedule is made in advance on the timing of the alone time and followed to the hilt. It makes a child aware of the importance of designated time and also instills a sense of decipline in the child.
Age of the child is not the defining factor when a parent should start alone time for a child yet I would encourage parents to start alone time for their children as early as possible to instill fine qualities like self confidence, healthy independence and emotional stabilty. This are the qualities that go a long way in raising a Happy Child.