When Should You Allow Unsupervised Play?
In the era of helicopter parenting, it may be difficult to decide when to let your kids play unsupervised. However, the benefits of unsupervised play are many, and kids need to be allowed to be on their own. Create a plan that will let your child graduate to indoor unsupervised play and beyond using the following information.
Why Kids Need Unsupervised Time
The benefits of play cannot be overstated. That’s why so many parents are petitioning for more playtime for their school-aged kids. However, unsupervised play offers unique benefits to a child’s cognitive development. Playing with your kids is far from a bad thing, but you shouldn’t do it all the time. Left on their own to play alone or with other kids, children exhibit creativity, learn social skills, and develop problem-solving abilities. Stepping in every time a child has a problem robs them of the experience of solving it.
Keep Play Age-Appropriate
You don’t have to throw your toddler outdoors on their own when starting with unsupervised play. According to Lurie Children’s, you should structure your child’s play based on their age. As Your child will eventually graduate to unsupervised outside play and exploring the neighborhood without you. However, it’s best for everyone if you start slowly. A young child can play in a child-proofed area of the home on their own. You can keep track of them by using a monitor if you want. Offer them blocks or other toys and let them explore without you standing over their shoulder. Eventually, you can introduce your child to the concept of playing outside on their own. Make sure you have taught them about street safety and that they’re old enough to understand where they are allowed to play and where they are not.
Letting kids play unsupervised is essential, but there are still precautions you need to take to avoid accidents. According to Jasmine Daya & Co, accidents involving unsecured swimming pools and trampolines are common with young children. These areas are off-limits when it comes to playing unsupervised. It’s also important to teach your kids what is safe and what is not before sending them out on their own. A child should ride their bike with you around the neighborhood and understand how to cross streets safely before being sent out on their own. Remember to arm your kids with the skills they’ll need as the risks go up. This will help them avoid accidents.
Build Your Community
It’s easier to let your kids play unsupervised if other kids do the same. You may have grown up during the time when kids roamed the neighborhood freely joining pickup games with friends. This is only possible if other kids are also out playing unsupervised. Find like-minded parents who have also equipped their kids to play unsupervised and safely. This offers a feeling of security for you and an entire friend group for your child. According to Dr. Amy Alamar, having a community is important for the entire family.
Unsupervised play is fun, creative, and necessary for a child’s development. Start letting your kids play on their own when they are young, and it will be a natural part of their lives as they age.
Looking for ways to incorporate playing with your kids with a busy schedule? If so, check out: HOW TO BE A PLAYFUL PARENT WHEN YOU’RE TOO BUSY!