“The inability to play independently inevitably increases the child’s sense of dependence on the adult. Conversely, independent activity allows him to experience autonomy.” – Éva Kálló and Györgyi Balog, The Origins of Free Play
I often hear from parents concerned about their child’s inability to play alone. They perceive their child as either extra-needy, too “attached” or too social, or just not the type to ever play independently.
I don’t buy any of it.
In the 20 years I’ve been working with parents and their infants and toddlers, I have yet to meet a child incapable of reaping the joys and benefits of self-directed play. I’ve noticed that problems with play are primarily ours, not our children’s. And that’s good news, because it means it’s also in our power to remedy the issue.
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