Raising strong, independent and confident children is a goal that we all have as parents.
We aim to have our children at a point where they can be independent and content with their lives and be able to make the most of it.
Creating independence isn't always easy.
We have grown these little people inside of us and we at times, do not want to let go.
There is nothing wrong with cuddling and spending quality time with your children – it is recommended!
But you also need to help them to build their independence and help them to be able to use their imaginations and be on their own at times.
It is sometimes harder for us than it is for them!
Creative play is a great way to help build independence for your child.
Starting when they are young in age is best, so that they have the ability to play on their own and grow their skills and independence.
There are a number of ways that you can help them with these skills and they are all very simple.
Using their imagination
If you have ever been around a child at the 4-6 year old stage you will know that they are full of words and imagination.
The amount of times I have had superheros running past me or pirates on a treasure hunt in my living room.
Giving them a chance to build their imaginations through creative play and imaginary play is a great start to growing their independence.
Imaginary play helps to create independence as they are having to think for themselves whilst creating their own little world, where THEY make the rules (although sometimes their world becomes a little too real for them!)
Encourage their creative play, using props around the house that they can use, dress up outfits and of course there has to be a blanket fort at one point or another!
Open ended activities refers to activities that do not have a defined start and finish to them.
Activities that DO have a defined start and finish, such as toys that do all of the entertaining for them with all the lights and sounds, mean that it limits the possibilities for how they can use them, and doesn't allow for them to be creative.
There's no straying from the activity and they have to do a certain task at a certain point.
These activities are still good for children and develop different skills however open ended activities are the best for helping with their independence.
Having activities such as building blocks, doll houses, play kitchen with utensils and play food, means that your child can choose how exactly the activity will go, they can choose the type of structure they build and how it all goes together.
They are being given the independence over the activity and are able to tailor it to how they are feeling at the time.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are similar to the open ended activities, as they are able to choose how they use the materials.
Creating a craft station with various materials; coloured paper, glue, glitter, pom poms etc means that they can create a masterpiece of their own with their own ideas and imagination.
Arts and crafts 9 times out of 10 will end up as a very messy activity (TIP: you can move the craft station outside, so it doesn't matter how much mess there is!) but this means they are having fun, creating memories along with learning a lot of valuable skills including, hand eye coordination, creative skills and independence.
They are able to work on their own and create what they want to create.
Creative play is very simple and most children will take to it easily and quickly.
Setting up creative play options doesn't mean that you don't have to play with them, you can still interact and take part in the activities, it just means that you're giving them the choice and independence over certain aspects of the activity.
Independence is a very important skill to have and starting it early on, will mean that you will be able to nurture and grow with your child and their new skills throughout their whole lives.
Have fun with them, take part in the imaginary tea parties and watch out for pirates!
Nicole is a mum of two girls aged 5 and 3, made to order cook, cleaner, crafts organiser and family budget manager. In between cups of coffee, you will usually find her assisting a toddler with the toilet, cleaning food scraps off the floor and basically trying to keep her mini-me's alive. She knows all too well that if you don’t keep them busy they will find their own busy-ness, by doing something mischievous!