Shows growing independence. According to child experts at Gymboree Play and Music Philippines, children begin to express their feelings, needs, and wants verbally at around 3 years old. These experts add, “Friends become more important to a child around 28 to 36 months, and being away from mommy and daddy for a short while becomes okay.”
Well-mannered. Children’s social skills blossom at around age 3 or 4. Taking turns, offering toys to playmates, using expressions such as “May I borrow?” and “I’m sorry,” observing others to learn how they do things, and engaging in parallel play are major hints that children are ready to go out and play on their own.
How to make it easy
Assure your kids that mom, dad, or yaya will be nearby should they need any help. Ann Tan, managing director of Gymboree Play and Music Philippines, says, “Children should be allowed to explore different situations with parental supervision, not interference. Start with a short separation time of 15 minutes and build up from there.” Being left with other kids develops self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment: kids feel they have graduated from being “babies” to being “big kids.”
Unsupervised play is crucial for children’s development. Keep watch, but from a distance. Don’t be too eager to rescue your children if you see them having a hard time socializing with other kids. Allow them to make mistakes, face conflicts on their own, and learn firsthand how to deal with these.
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Photography by Jun Pinzon
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