Creative Child

The Importance of Letting Your Child Play Alone

by Michelle Dempsey M.S., CPRW

My daughter is somewhere between 18-months and 2 years old (sorry, I’m sick of counting by months), and as she becomes increasingly more intelligent and more aware of her surroundings, there is one thing she can’t seem to get enough of.


“Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy,” is the phrase of the day, all day, at all times. I can barely leave the room for a second without hearing that call from my daughter that sparks up my emotions and reminds me how badly she needs me and thrives in my presence. If you’re the mother of a toddler, I know you’ve been there, too.

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I run a business, and a growing one at that. I enjoy working, and I also enjoy being a mom – more than anything in the world. Most afternoons, I kick off my shoes, hunker down in the play room and indulge my child in all of the games she wants to play with or books she wants to read – it’s how we bond.

But gosh darn it if I just don’t have the heart or head to stack blocks for the 500th time today.

So I let my daughter start playing by herself from time to time, mostly for 10 minute spurts because of her young age and my fear of leaving her alone for any extended period of time (she’s a quick one). Then an amazing thing happened.

Her creativity blossomed.

Not long ago, as my daughter was playing in her playroom, I sat close by listening in on her and heard what sounded like conversation. When I looked at the baby monitor, I could see that she had her stuffed elephant in one hand, and Mickey Mouse in the other. They were having a conversation, which she was narrating. Then she gently gave both dolls a kiss and sat them at her table for a tea party.

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This felt like an out-of-body experience.

Watching my daughter build on her creativity and curiosity warms my heart in a way I can barely describe. Giving her the space and freedom to do this on her own, not only helps develop her confidence, but it also helps her discover what she loves to do most, instead of having mommy dictate the games, conversations, and routines.

As of now, I can report that she loves tea parties, giving her stuffed-animals marker tattoos, and really cutely trying to follow the head-shoulders-knees-and-toes song I play on the iPad for her. None of which I’ve taught her, or tried to stop her from doing.

Each day her ability to sit and play by herself stretches by a few minutes, and gives me some time to breathe as I relish in the fact that my daughter has an absolutely creative mind, just like her mommy. I’m even more satisfied to know that she’s developed this all on her own.

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If you're in need of a little break (and aren't we all?), try implementing solo playtime after your child's bath or lunch. According to a recent article in Parents magazine, that's when your child will be feeling content and confident. If there are other times when you child is filled with contentment, you can try it then, as well.

So give yourself a break! You deserve it, and your child's creativity will continue to flourish in the moments while you're away.

A writer, entrepreneur, radio host, and powerful motivational speaker – Michelle Dempsey, owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey, Very Well-Written, has one goal in mind: empowering women from all walks of life with her incredible personal life story of overcoming adversity and using the lessons learned to achieve success. Internationally published and known for her ability to connect with readers on a deeper level, Michelle has successfully united her passion for business and writing and developed a thriving career, offering writing and editing services, business coaching, branding expertise, and content marketing to business of all kinds.

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