Actually I have never known what to do with DS. He's never been happy to play independently with me in the room (or house). If I am around all he wants is for me to hold him, and he's usually fussy, even if I am holding him. I must be emitting a high-stress vibe or something (which is probably the case - I am pretty high stress) that makes my son worried that I am going to leave at any second, or something.
Anyway, I'm looking for examples of what is "normal" for a 1 year old's playing habits. Or any other suggestions. I feel like every day is a struggle just to make it from wake-up to bed-time.
I work 5 days a week, but here's a typical Saturday for us.
6:30 - Get up, change diaper. DS cruises around the kitchen pulling up on anything he can while I try to pull myself awake at the computer. Change diaper again when he poops.
7:00 - Eat breakfast
7:15 - Nurse
7:30 - 8:30 - DS plays, but not for the whole hour. Usually he can amuse himself for 10 or 20 minutes and then needs our attention in some way (picked up & walked, sung to, make funny faces)
8:30 - Go down for nap
9:20 - Wake up from nap
9:20 - 11:00 - DS plays. He doesn't need a ton of interaction for this period as long as we sit on the living room couch while he wanders around. Does not like it if I actually try to get something accomplished. At some point in here we might nurse but not always.
11:00 - lunch
11:30 - Go for a walk/run an errand.
12:30 - Back home, plays very happily after getting out of the house for awhile
1:00 - Go down for nap
2:15 - Wake up from nap. At this point I almost always leave the house and go somewhere. My DS gets bored easily and 2:15 to 6:30 (bedtime) is a LOOONG stretch to just be hanging around the house. Often we go to my SIL's and he will play quietly while the family henpecks (we're sorta loud) for hours as long as he's sitting right in the middle of it. He is Mr. Social.
5:00 - Dinner
5:45 - Bath, jammies, nurse to sleep by 6:30
In those playtimes we are always nearby. Like I said he loves people - the more the merrier - so getting out of the house is the best plan for us. Even if we just go to the mall and walk around for an hour.
Mumma to DS July 2010 and expecting another baby boy late July 2012
My DD is 16 months old and still doesn't play alone for more then maybe 15 minuets at a streach. I can't do things like be on the computer or do dishes when she is awake as she will stand and fuss at me. I'm not clear on if it is because she wants my attention or just wants to play with the computer/dishes but it is unnerving so yes, you are not alone! Honestly i think most of it is just boredom since my DD is totally happy and content to ignore me when we are outdoors, at a park or the beach or something and she is off running. At home i don't leave one room without her following. I think is also has a lot to do with seperation anxiety too.
My 13 month old just wants to get outdoors. She points at the front door constantly. We play with rocks on the front sidewalk (in the bucket, out of the bucket etc) pick flowers, crawl in the grass, cruise on the raised beds, throw rocks in her baby pool, play with the hose. She has short periods unattended (in view, I'm reading or sunbathing) but mostly I play with her and make sure she doesn't eat anything. We also stroll some or walk in Pikkolo if it's not too hot.
Indoors she plays with Tupperware, crayons, a huge box of hats in front of the mirror, look at pictures of herself on the computer (she asks a lot) chase and tumble/wrassle... still a lot supervised closely.
Personally if I had a munchkin like that I'd be wearing him in an ergo (the most comfy carrier for me for longer periods of time) as much as he needed so that I could get things done like dishes, laundry, etc.
Some littles go through phases of being more clingy than others. Hopefully this will pass as he gets a little older and wants to be more independent.
Thanks for all the replies! It is frustrating, to say the least. I wish I could wear him around the house in an ergo or something, but he doesn't like that. He is okay with being worn only when on the move!
It seems like such a hard age, and I hope it passes soon because this is getting really hard to deal with!!!
I totally agree with PPs re: going outside. We live in the upper Midwest, and winters were rough because it was so much harder to get out! Yay for summer!
Some indoor activities that worked well for us when DD was that age:
We installed a mirror at her height in the living room. It's not a glass mirror, but some kind of indestructible plastic. It was expensive, but so worth it. She became her own best source of entertainment! To this day she loves looking at herself in the mirror, talking to herself, etc.
We also have a felt board & a white board at her level. So, taking things on & off the felt board is a fun activity, as is drawing on the white board. One caveat about the white board...she has drawn all over the walls around it. As she gets older & has better self control, that's less of a problem. We have a generally creative (read: messy) house, so drawing on the walls is not a big deal to us. When she gets older, we'll paint over it.
We were reading about a billion board books a day at that age, if I recall correctly.
On another note...you sound a little fried, mama. Are you able to get "adult time" and do things for yourself during the day? If that's not happening on a regular basis, are there things you could do to get little breaks? We all need a chance to renew our patience & creativity...
Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DD(Born 10/09/08 ). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!
Do you have a nearby library you could visit? A lot of times they have free storytime classes and such for little ones. It gives the LO a time to interact with other babies as well as give you a chance to talk to other moms. Having a place to go really breaks up the monotony of the day and makes everyone a little less stir crazy.
I get DS to help with housework. Since he could stand, he's been helping me unload the dishwasher (obviously I get in there first and get out the dangerous stuff), he sweeps with a little broom when I sweep, he mops when I mop, and he loves helping with the laundry (things in and out of machines, in and out of baskets...). It takes about 3 times as long to get anything *done* but he loves it.
We pad around in the back yard, or go to a park and play in the sand - now he's more mobile he can climb some of the toddler stuff.
He can be distracted with stacking cups or his sister's leapfrog toys (blip, blip, bloop!) for a few minutes at a time. I put him in his high chair if I'm working in the kitchen and let him go to town with finger food or a spoon and yogurt. Messy, but gives me a chance to prep supper, etc.
Honestly, expecting him to be self-entertaining in the house for more than 10-15 minutes is unrealistic. It never occurred to me that a baby should be playing by themselves for more than that!
I am constantly playing with my 12month old. I am on the ground with her all.the.time. But there are times when I need her to play by herself and here are some things that help with that:
-We've set up a water/sand table, mini sandbox and kiddie pool in our garage (too hot outside at the moment). I take her out there everyday to play. I usually sit on the floor with her or on a chair next to the sandbox and she does some independent play for about 15minutes...but I have to be near or she will follow and fuss at me to pick her up.
-I turn on her favorite children's music CD and I dance around and sing while I clean the kitchen, fold laundry..etc. She usually "sings" along with me and plays with her toys.
-I have magnetic letters on the fridge and she plays with them while I cook or clean up in the kitchen.
My little one is very "laid back" and rarely cries, but recently I've noticed that she wants to be held all the time right now and it gets tiring really quick. I think my little one gets bored of being home. I make sure to get out of the house as often as possible, even if it's just for walks. She is almost NEVER fussy when we are out and about....so I think getting out of the house is the key at this age ;)
Thanks for all the suggestions - my DS is not yet mobile (well, he scoots a bit...but no crawling or walking) so I think that is what's most of the trouble.
CI Mama - yes, I DO have some adult time, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like enough! DS goes to daycare for half days b/c I work part-time. We might have to cut that out - it's getting hard to afford! I am afraid that if he doesn't go to daycare, I will go crazy!
A big problem is our sleep. He's really backslid in his sleep lately (developmentally related, I'm sure), so we're looking at getting that back in order (better routine, etc), and once I get more sleep, I'm sure I'll be a happier mama.
We do live close to a library, but most of the activities for babies happen while he is at daycare or immediately after I pick him up, so they are hard to make. If we take DS out of daycare, I will definitely be making it to some of those!
I really liked the suggestion for the magnetic letters on the fridge. Great idea!