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  Play – Solitary
 
Although my baby is quite sociable, she definitely prefers to play alone. Should I be concerned about this or intervene in any way?

Solitary play is a very important activity. When your baby plays alone she is in complete control of her environment and makes all the decisions about the game. Babies and small children often feel as though they have no control over their own lives, so solitary play relieves these feelings. So a baby who is naturally inclined to play alone should develop good coping skills and the ability to manage her own anxiety levels. The only time that you should be concerned is if your baby does not play at all. Not playing is a sign of extreme anxiety and is something to watch out for.

It is not necessary for you to intervene at all. If your baby is playing on her own and is contented, just make sure that she is in an environment conducive to play. Provide her with a few sturdy toys which are appropriate to her age. For babies around three months old, a rattle can be a fascinating item. As she rattles it and throws it around, it may appear to be random and meaningless activity but in fact she is learning the principles of cause and effect.

What you may like to do is to make ordinary routine activities into playtime. So take the time to turn nappy changing into tickle time, or singing time. Make bath time into a fun splashy experience. Peek-a-boo is a very important game, as the baby learns that you go away and then return. Since for small babies, anything not physically present simply does not exist, this is a game that can really help your baby learn to cope with the anxiety your absence brings. If your baby is playing happily in the bath, you could just have a parallel game going on that will encourage her to carry on with her game. In this way you are gently creating an arena for some of her play to be less solitary, without ever making her feel anxious or pressurized.

See also:

Play - Necessity


 
   
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