When my oldest was a born, I had no clue how to interact with him. So I played with him constantly. As he grew older, I would Build block castles for him to tear down or race cars. In return for the first two years of his life, I got nothing done unless it was nap or bedtime. When my youngest was born and I couldn't play with my toddler all the time, I started letting him play without me. What I learned was toddlers need alone time and it has benefits beyond your sanity.
Sparks their Imagination
Teaching toddlers to play alone opens their world up to new possibilities. They aren't just knocking down a perfectly built castle, they are building a rocket ship. When they don't have an adult telling them how to play their imagination runs wild. This is great for toddlers to learn and develop new skills.
Teaches them to be comfortable alone
When you are around all the time they have no way to know how just be by themselves. Children need to be comfortable being alone. It's good for their confidence and self-esteem to know they don't need to count on anyone for their own happiness or entertainment. They will learn their value as an individual doesn't depend on others.
Builds Problem Solving Skills
By not intervening when our children have a problem they learn to figure it out for themselves. I'm guilty of being the hovering mom. I see my kids struggle and I want to help them. We all do! By doing this you create problems for them when you aren't around. Allowing kids to work things out creates a more independent, capable person.
Gives Them More Focus
The ability to focus for long periods of time is not a skill most toddlers have. Giving them alone time, however, increases their attention span. I let my 17-month-old have alone play time before bed every night. He will play with one toy for a good 15 - 20 minutes instead of getting bored constantly. Learning to focus early will help them to listen and pay attention once they are in school.
It Calms Them Down
Giving them a break from playdates and playing outside is extremely beneficial. Toddlers are overwhelmed with different emotions and can lead to tantrums. Alone time lets their brain solve problems, gives them a break, and allows the quiet time that they need.
Gives Mommy A Break
I know this isn't the goal but it's a nice perk. Teaching kids to play solo allows mommy to get stuff done or take a break. Parenting is exhausting and with a kid hanging off of you all day there is no way to do anything. Having a break from each other is a great thing whether you do the laundry or sit on the couch. You are doing what is best for them so you don't have to feel guilty. After you will feel less stressed and refreshed.
I hope that you can see letting toddlers play alone is beneficial to their development. Do you let your toddler play by themselves? Let me know why or why not in the comments.
Rebekah is a full-time work out of the home mommy. She is raising two amazing little boys in her corner of paradise in Kentucky and is married to a wonderful man that supports all her endeavors. When she is not writing or working, she enjoys reading, yoga or nice hot cup of coffee. She writes about her Messy Blessed Life on her blog.
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