Encouraging Independent Play

Good Morning!!


Halfway through the week. Always a good motivator, right?! Monday was a bit rough around here, Gabriella was having one of her ‘off’ days. I swear whenever I say good things about her, the next day is always bad. She must be able to read my mind. ;)

Yesterday was better, she was hilarious at some points. I couldn’t stop laughing at her.


One thing that I’m really struggling with is getting her to play independently. I’m hoping to get some new ideas & advice from my readers, I figure someone out there has dealt with the same thing.

I partially blame myself because as a tiny baby, I would make sure that I was ALWAYS right next to her playing. Which of course at the time was necessary. But now she will not play by herself at all. (at least when it’s just me & her at home – which is 5 days a week)

The area that she is improving is getting used to going to ‘daycare’ every day. She goes with me to the Y every day, and I even take her on the weekends when Craig could watch her. But I think it’s a good idea to just keep her in that routine AND it’s good socialization for her.


She goes for the full time, an hour & a half, and she has gotten to love going. She used to SCREAM & cry when I left, but now she doesn’t even cry and actually smiles & waves when I leave. It makes me happy & sad at the same time. I absolutely LOVE that she loves the ladies & men in there, but it makes me a little sad that she just waves me off. Haha! Honestly though, knowing that she loves going there with me makes me SO happy. She had a really hard time going to other people, even family, but she has really improved.

The part that I struggle with, and Gabriella does too is playing by herself at home. I’m not talking about playing ALL day by herself, I just mean like 10 – 15 minutes. Just enough time that I could unload the dishwasher, or clean the kitchen. She can see me the whole time, it’s not like our kitchen & living room is far from each other, it’s literally the next room over. She can look through the cut out in our kitchen & see me.

If I even just move slightly to the other room, she will get up from whatever we were doing & start crying. Not just crying a little, but like full on melt down mode. :/ It’s rough…on both of us. She’s totally fine if I’m right next to her, or if she’s sitting on my lap…but the second I decide to move, it’s NO good.


picture 1

(^pictures above were from my phone so not the best quality, we turned the camera around to take some funny ones)

I’m not sure what to do. I encourage her to ‘go get a toy’ while she is standing there screaming, but it doesn’t work & she just cries even harder & puts her hands up in the air for me to pick her up. Some days are worse than others, but it’s pretty much all of the time.

I love that she always wants to be around & near me, but it’s to the point where I can’t even take a shower. I leave the curtain completely open, and she stands right next to the tub & just screams and cries. Obviously I’m not trying to get her to entertain herself for twenty minutes so I can take a shower, I just need a few minutes to put something in the refrigerator or get a glass of water.

I have tried looking online for some ideas, and the main thing I see is to just start small. Start with 5 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. I just don’t even know how to start though. I can’t put her in a pack n’ play anymore, she’s too big & she HATES that. She just hates being in a contained environment. She likes the freedom, and I definitely understand that. She started walking at 10 months, and since then she has been ALL about her independence and I can’t blame her.

I just need ideas, if you have any. :) She is NOT at all into television shows, and I’m ok with that. Although I have to say I wouldn’t mind if she found a show that kept her entertained for 10 minutes, that’s all I’m asking for. :D

Anyone have any ideas??

In other news, guess who suddenly decided to use the fork to feed herself yesterday??


fork 1

fork 2

As you can see from the last picture she was very proud of herself. :)

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