How to Get Your Kid to Play Without You (and Why You Should)

I often say to parents that play is like the blood that runs through your child’s veins. He absolutely thrives on it—in fact he needs it to grow, develop, understand the world, and process his experiences.

 Play helps your child discover what he can do, as well as what he can’t (yet) do. It gives him a chance to experiment (will this ball fit into this container? How about this one?), to practice building his skills (if I jump off this sidewalk 100 more times, I will do it without stumbling!), and through this process of discovery, experimentation, and practice, develop his self-confidence.

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Want a Self-Confident Kid? Try This.

One of my favorite RIE® Basic Principles is “trust in the infant’s competence.” Starting from birth, we trust that our baby is capable of—and interested in—learning and exploring the world to the degree she is ready. This means we allow her ample space and time to reach milestones on her own, or even to do things like grasp a toy without our help.

The big idea behind this principle is that, if given the space and time to learn and explore on his own, our child will not only develop beautifully, he will also cultivate a sense of his own capacity and capability from a very early age. 

I think this principle is applicable to our children long past infancy—indeed, throughout their developmental years. Here’s how trusting our kids’ unfolding can look as they grow.

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