Your child is already exercising simply by moving all their muscles, so even playing with their toes and feet, crawling around the house and playing with blocks counts as exercise. Young children often still need to learn to play on their own for extended periods of time. These tips can teach them how to do that:
- Get your child age-appropriate toys, for example a ball they can run after. Have a look at the website opvoeden.nl for tips on which toys to get.
- Don’t give your child too many toys at once. Put away the toys they’re not playing with so that you can give them new ones instead. That way, they will enjoy their toys for longer.
- Stay around while your child is playing on their own. Your child will play better knowing you are nearby.
- Join in every now and then, and let your child play on their own again after a while.
- Tell your child you would like them to play alone for a bit, for example by saying, “I would like you to play on your own for a little while until dinner is ready”.
- Has your child shown good behaviour while playing on their own? Tell them you’re happy about it, for example by saying, “I love how quiet you were while playing on your own!” You can also pay them a compliment or stroke their head while they’re still playing. Just make sure you don’t disturb them.
An example of a step-by-step approach:
- Play together for a bit.
- Now tell your child they need to play on their own.
- Tell them what you’re going to do now and when you can give them your full attention again, for example, “Now I’m going to clean the kitchen. You play with your Legos a little longer. When I’m done, we’ll eat some fruit together”.
- If your child has played well on their own, tell them you’re happy about it. You can also pay them a compliment or stroke their head while they’re still playing. Just make sure you don’t disturb them.