How to Get Your Babies to Play on Their Own - The Koch Family
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How to Get Your Babies to Play on Their Own

I have the ideal baby. He plays on his own while I carry on with my work. When he is hungry, he comes to me and I feed him and he eats his food obediently and then he carries on to play with his toys. Same way, when he is sleepy, he comes to me and I put him to sleep. After he wakes up, I give him food and he again peacefully goes on to play with his toys.
Oh.. I almost forgot.. We had learnt in our primary science classes that Ideal conditions do not exist in real world and that could be the reason why this ideal baby does not exist.
Isn’t it such a wishful thinking. Maybe even if all those stated above doesn’t turn out to be true, I just hope that if at least the playing on his own part were true, life would have been much easier.
Let me do a flash back. My actual scenario was- the minute I set on to do some kitchen chores or switch on my laptop, my baby starts tugging my legs and clings on till I pick him up. He wants to see what mummy is doing. Frustrated at not being able to get much of my work done, I was determined to do something to make my baby play on his own. By observing my baby and how and what he plays with, I was able to adopt a few steps which though did not result in the ideal conditions, still helped me to manage my work easier than it used to be. Now, he does play in his own for at least 20-30 minutes before he craves for my attention. These are the tips that helped me manage.

  • AttentionI have observed that the main reason why my baby did not let me do any other work was because he wanted my full attention always. So, what I did was I would put him down with his toys and sit with him but not play with him. Whenever he looked at me, I would smile approvingly. Gradually, I started stepping a little bit by bit away from him. I made it a point to always keep an eye on him so that whenever he looks at me, he sees me looking at him too. That way, he always knows that even though I am at some other work, he always has my attention.
  • Age appropriate toys
    We have all observed that babies like to play with spoons, ladles and kitchen utensils. The reason for the same explained by experts is that such items can be manipulated by the kids as per their imagination. But when it is other toys that moves and plays on its own, kids are just passive spectators and not active participants.
    Other than kitchen utensils, there are many age appropriate toys for babies. Age recommendations mentioned on toy packages isn’t always necessarily appropriate.
    When my son was around 6-8 months he was quite fascinated by the toy packages rather than the toy itself. He would just play for a long time with the boxes. At one year he would take the car keys and insert it into Various places and turn the key mimicking what the adults do with the keys. Seeing this, I bought for him lock and key toys and nut and bolt toys too. Both which he really liked.
    Though the stacking cone toy is recommended to be for from 6 months on, my baby showed no interest in it till he was 15 months. May be it is his genetics ( dad being a huge car lover) he loved to push around toy cars right from when he started crawling at 9 months. So, toys needs to be bought depending on the babies taste and interest, which we can understand by observing the baby.
  • Baby proofingNo matter how much we encourage the baby to play independently, it is not possible if there are dangers lurking in your home in the forms of electrical wires hanging around and unguarded furniture corners. So, I made it a point to baby proof the home so that he can explore the home without hurting himself.
  • Access to toysBabies get bored easily. So, rotating toys is necessary. I have Sorted his  toys to separate packs labelled from Monday to Sunday and give each pack a day to keep the toys fresh.
    Also, I keep the toys at easily accessible places so that he can play with toys of his choice anytime.
  • Play with themEvery 20-30 minutes, when I see him get a bit lonely and craving for my presence, I go to him before he comes to me. We cuddle and play together, which is like a recharge for him. After a little while he finds something interesting around him and carries on to play on his own.


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