There is nothing wrong (and a lot to learn!) from playing on your own.
It increases creativity. It also gives you a strong sense of independence, supports decision-making skills and helps your problem-solving ability to develop. These are all very important skills for a child to learn. A child playing on their own also helps them to relax their minds, especially in a very noisy or busy household. It is not the parent or carers' job to entertain their children 24/7, 365 days a year! Doing so will make it difficult for our children to learn independence.
How you can encourage it
Children need to learn to hang out with their thoughts. If not, they may develop anxious thoughts or stress themselves when left to their own devices. Why not create a quiet corner or space in your house with a comfy chair or cushion, with a few calming toys, sensory toys and activities. No machinery, including iPads or TVs! Don’t banish them to another room however, start by doing this very gradually and for short periods, especially if your child is struggling to play independently.
Allowing children to play on their own can help them become better learners when they get older. They will become used to the idea that certain tasks like homework and reading are sole endeavours. For example, you can challenge your child to be a bit creative with ideas, such as play figures, puppets and other great toys. Ask them to make up a magical story or problem for the toys to solve, they will find this super enjoyable! Tell them you will come and see them in a few minutes (which can be anything from 5 to 20!). Then you can sit together whilst your child shares with you their amazing creativeness.
Be a role model! Seeing you sitting and reading a book for example. Don’t forget, children learn from our behaviour!