Study proves: Teaching kids to play independently lowers parents stress levels

Last updated: 09-22-2020

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Study proves: Teaching kids to play independently lowers parents stress levels

Last year, a *study of 2,000 parents found that when kids were home, on an extended break (like summer break or the stay-at-home order), it took only 13 days for parents to feel stressed. 

 60% said the stress came from feeling like they needed to entertain their kids with plans and activities constantly. 64% of parents reported feeling guilty when they weren’t keeping their kids busy. All of this entertaining & planning left these parents falling behind on their responsibilities. They were trading sleep for work & downtime, which left them tired, grumpy, and stressed.  

What is the solution? 

Independent play is essential. Teaching a child to play alone helps brain development, emotional regulation, and self-confidence, which lowers the child’s stress levels.   According to the study mentioned above, it will also help with the parent’s stress levels.  

Independent play is essential. Teaching a child to play alone helps brain development, emotional regulation, and self-confidence, which lowers the child’s stress levels.   According to the study mentioned above, it will also help with the parent’s stress levels.  

It’s important to realize that for children to become independent and confident, they need to feelsafe, secure, loved, and nurtured.   This is achieved by spending quality time with them.    

I’ve said it before, but 20 minutes of one-on-one time for each child to each child (playing, talking, listening, etc.) makes a huge difference. It leaves them feeling safe, secure, loved, and nurtured, so they can go off and be independent & confident. 

I know that during our stay-at-home time, we are all spending extra time with our children.  *Another study found that80% of parents agreed that their child has been handling the transition better than they are, but almost two-thirds (69%) of those parents have said that it has been a gratifying experience.’  

I use my No Screen Time Until chart in the summer because I’ve found that when kids can start the day by doing something otherthan electronics, they usually forget about the screentime. They get lost in the other activity. 

Choresfoster responsibility and independence.   Explain to your kids that when everyone helps out around the house, it frees up your time, giving you more time to play or hang out with them. Once our kids understood this, it made a big difference.   Here is a list of age-appropriate chores for kids.  

While we love spending time with our kids, and we’ve enjoyed this extra time together,  I don’t want them to feel that they have to rely on anyone else for their contentment.  

Learning to entertain themselves with toys, a book, coloring, a hobby, etc. will benefit them for their entire life.  

When you start to feel the guilt sneaking back in, remind yourself that “There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” – Dave Willis

Check out why this Dutch mother says Dutch children are more self-reliant and independent: 

*The first study mentioned  was conducted by Groupon   *The second study mentioned was conducted by Pearson & Connections Academy 


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