Why It’s Important for Children to Play by Themselves

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Whoever started the whole “a priest, a Jew and a rabbi” genre of jokes must be given credit.  These jokes are simply timeless and never fail to crack people up.  But why didn’t the priest, or rabbi, or Jew go to the bar alone?  Was there any problem with that?  Were they just so dependent on each other that they couldn’t bear going out by themselves?

This is why we should allow kids to play solo.  The ability to entertain oneself is a lifelong skill which, when acquired early on, proves to be beneficial not only to the kid, but to the people around him as well.

When a child learns to keep himself amused without help from his parents or siblings, he is more likely to grow up doing things independently.  You can expect him to do his homework with minimal supervision, and he’ll be more capable of solving other problems on his own.  The kid realizes that one goes through life mostly by trial and error, without having to fearfully cling to Mommy’s skirt.

If you see your little one happily playing with her dolls, for instance, just leave her be.  Don’t break her concentration and ruin her train of thought.  Through this type of play, she lets her creativity flow without any outside interference.

My daughter sometimes complains to me that she’s bored, but I don’t take responsibility for that.  Whenever that “boredom” neon light starts to flicker over her head, I point her in the direction of her dolls, jigsaw puzzles, crayons and art materials.  I show her that there’s lots of stuff for her to do, that she simply has to choose from the gamut of activities at her disposal.  I’ve also come up with a checklist of options for her- that includes folding the laundry.  So, she gets to help around the house and be entertained at the same time.

It’s not about ignoring your kid.  It’s about giving him room to be absorbed in a task, and having him revel in his accomplishment.  Stay in the background and keep a watchful eye, just so you know that he’s not about to set the house on fire or anything.