|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.
Play - Necessity