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Children learn a lot of things during their playtime, both when they have company and when they engage in solitary play. Don’t know what solitary play is? Find out how solitary play can actually be very good for your toddler.
Do you often leave your child alone to play? Find it awkward and feel a wee bit guilty too when you see your little one talking to himself then? Well, there is definitely no reason to feel guilty or weird. It’s quite normal for toddlers to engage in solitary play. Experts believe that this can actually have a positive effect on the development of a toddler.
What Is Solitary Play?
When a toddler plays all by himself unmindful of things around him, it’s known as solitary play. In such a scenario, the toddler plays and talks alone that the child experts believe paves a way for the child’s development and is perfectly normal.
Solitary Play Age in Children
According to experts, children of all ages engage in solitary play if they have no one for company. Babies who are too small and don’t know how to handle their body or toys prefer observing the goings-on around them. 1-year-old toddlers are more likely to engage in solitary play, as they prefer their own company. By the age of 2 or 3 years, toddlers move on to “parallel play”. This is when two or more kids sit together but still play by themselves. Though they are well aware of the other’s activities and may even mimic each other, they prefer to play by themselves. However, with time, most children start playing with other children and graduate to “social play”.
Different Types of Solitary Play
If you thought that your 15-month-old’s playing and talking alone is the only kind of solitary play, think again. Any activity that toddlers get engrossed in, all by themselves, is solitary play. For instance, a child sitting quietly and colouring his picture book is also a form of solitary play. Similarly, counting blocks alone or looking out of the window is also a kind of solitary play for toddlers. Other times, toddlers prefer to just sit and observe other kids at play. This too is a form of solitary play and doesn’t in any way indicate that the child is unsociable.
How Solitary Play Helps in Child Development
Time and again experts have stressed the importance of solitary play and its benefits on child development. Take a look at some of these benefits:
- Enhances the creative and imaginative skills of the toddler
- Improves their physical and mental skills and development
- Trains them in setting their own rules for playing
- Increases their chances of exploring things all by themselves which benefits their learning skills
- Improves their focusing abilities
So, the next time you see your toddler engaging in solitary play, there is no need to get worried. This is a natural phenomenon that actually helps your child to develop and learn. In case you know of any other benefits of solitary play, feel free to share your thoughts with other mothers who might be raising toddlers.