The key to increasing the odds that your child will play by himself for any period of time is to be realistic about your expectations. If you think that you will make a four-course meal, do your laundry, write your dissertation, and catch up with a colleague today, you are in for disappointment. Be happy with a few moments of solace.
Whenever your child plays by himself, even for a few moments, hype the fact that he is doing something special and “grown up.”
Make sure that there are toys for your child to play with everywhere in the house.
If your child ever does play by himself, pay attention to which toys he chooses—does it naturally happen with art supplies, small cars, or blocks? When you need your child to play alone, have those toys on hand.