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Creative kids: Six ways to help your kids play creatively

Think you need to be on hand 24/7 to keep the little ones entertained? You don’t. Letting your children do their own thing is really good for them, writes Tanya Sweeney

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Letting your children do their own thing is really good for them, writes Tanya Sweeney (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Letting your children do their own thing is really good for them, writes Tanya Sweeney (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

PA

Letting your children do their own thing is really good for them, writes Tanya Sweeney (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Do you remember your own childhood afternoons of making ‘dinner’ with leaves and twigs, sticking buttercups under your chin and creating wedding veils with the curtains?

If so, you’re closer to being able to entertain your children than you think. With many toys providing all sorts of entertainment, parents have lost the joyous art of free, unstructured playing. “It’s essential, more than anything,” notes psychotherapist Stella O’Malley. “We want to raise independent-thinking people who are self-motivated. We are living in a world where children are being taught to expect entertainment from the nearest adult, and it’s us that has taught them that. It’s kind of a false economy as you’re creating a very dependent child.”

Giving a child the freedom to play, entertain themselves and be comfortable in their own company is a great gift, but how do you get started? Amazingly, all you have to do is less.