95. Solitary play

Solitude: solitary play for older children

While we all want our children to be sociable and make friends easily, it’s also good to be able to work independently and to be happy in your own company. Solitude is closely linked to Boredom (no. 16), since without anyone else for entertainment, children must draw on their own internal resources to find something interesting to do.

But solitude isn’t just about being resourceful when you’re on your own. It’s also necessary for some types of activity. You can’t get very far with block play or building a railway track if your baby sister is constantly knocking your constructions down. In this way, solitude helps foster deeper thinking and all-important perseverance: solitary activities can run for hours or even days, as your child returns several times to make modifications. Children who constantly have their constructions knocked down or tidied away become demoralised and stop wanting to create anything because it seems futile.

Try to factor in some solitude to your child’s day and see what they come up with as a result.

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