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How to Help a Clingy Child Play Independently

clingy child

Every parent wants the best for their child, and one of the most important things to teach them is independence. For some children, it comes naturally, but if you have a clingy child, you may find yourself at crossroads.  

You can’t always have time to play. It is, therefore, essential that you teach your child how to be independent. Kids are different, and some will get over the clingy stage within a short time. Others will keep throwing tantrums every time the attention isn’t on them. 

If you have been looking to help your child play independently, here are a couple of tips that we recommend you try.

Clock Some Playtime in the Daily Schedule For Your Clingy Child

Your child could be clingy because they don’t know when you will be available to them. If you, especially, are a busy parent, set aside some time each day for them. It doesn’t have to be for long and can even be at the end of the day. Ensure that there are no distractions during this time and that they are your sole focus. 

Gradually, introduce independent play in their routine. Start by reducing your involvement in their play. Eventually, your kid will be better placed to play on their own with only an affirmation that you are around.

Design Playtime For Them

Telling your clingy child to play by themselves will not work. The most you can get is a few minutes before they are back at your side. Instead, designing playtime works wonders when you are wondering how to teach your child to play independently. 

Coming up with something to keep them busy shouldn’t be challenging. Does your child like crafts? Why not have them work on a simple project? You can even get some crayons and paint and challenge them to be creative. There are different toys for toddlers to choose from if you have run out of ideas. 

Let them know that you will be gone for a while but will be back to check on them. Be sure to commend their progress when you come checking in to boost their confidence. 

Praise any Efforts Towards Independence

Praising your child’s efforts work like a charm. If you are wondering how to help your child play independently, perhaps you should try it. Praising their efforts helps boost their confidence. It also lets them know that accomplishing specific tasks by themselves is commendable. 

When dishing out praise, ensure you are specific. For example, let them know that you are impressed with the legos they stacked instead of only saying, ‘that’s great.’

Let Them Play With Other Kids

A useful tool on how to encourage your child to play independently is letting them play with their peers. Toddlers get quite clingy when they only interact with their immediate family. The situation is even worse for only-kids who have no siblings. 

Every so often, let your child join other kids their age. You can schedule regular playdates with a child or children of your friends. Alternatively, take them to the park and watch them interact with other children in the swings. Doing so also helps build their social skills.


Having a clingy child can prove to be quite stressful. On the one hand, you don’t always want to have to be there during playtime. On the other, your child doesn’t seem to want to let you go. 

If you are stuck at this position, you are probably wondering at what age should a child play independently. Most toddlers will be clingy at one point, so there’s no straightforward answer to this question.

The tips above should help you know how to get your child to play independently. The essential thing is that you build their confidence. Set limits and assert them in loving ways, so they know what is expected. 

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