Do you let baby play alone? - Mothering Forums
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Life With a Baby > Do you let baby play alone?
whozeyermamma's Avatar whozeyermamma 02:14 PM 05-19-2011

I mean like completely alone? Like in another part of the house?


Our house is pretty well babyproofed (like anything that would require an ER visit - stairs, heavy objects, furniture anchored, outlets, small choking items.) DS sleeps on a mattress on our floor and when he wakes up - I can hear him on the monitor - he'll often play happily by himself for maybe 20 minutes or so. He'll plod around the room or go into other rooms and I'll finish working or cleaning or whatnot.


Other times, for example, I'll be putting away laundry in one room and he'll be playing in another room. He'll crawl in and say hello now and then, but he'll often be happy to be doing whatever baby thing is fascinating him at the moment (chewing on EVERYTHING, throwing clothing on the floor, etc.)


Sometimes I feel a little guilty, like I should be playing with him more. I think this is the part of my Crazy Mommy Brain that says I should be teaching him French verbs or encouraging him to develop his pincher grasp or something. Of course, it's not like I ignore him winky.gif and we spend a lot of other time playing and if he's ever crying or upset I get him immediately.


I dunno ...  anyone else?

Buzzer Beater's Avatar Buzzer Beater 02:29 PM 05-19-2011

Nope, we pretty much stay in the same room. She's good at getting into things I never thought she would... the most I do is try to get to the bathroom by myself if she's very busy in the middle of the living room. I would not be comfortable with her at the other end of the house.

Hannah32's Avatar Hannah32 03:45 PM 05-19-2011

A couple of caveats before I answer: 1) we live in a very small apartment 2) the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom are all blocked by either closing the door or gates. 


That leaves his bedroom, a hallway and the living room. I am comfortable leaving him in those spaces and stepping into the kitchen or going to the bathroom for a couple of minutes. Typically, he follows me anyway, but yes, he's fine in his room if I'm in the living room. 

liberal_chick's Avatar liberal_chick 04:58 PM 05-19-2011

Yes, ds3 plays wherever he chooses.  There is nothing he can get into or that can hurt him, so I'm fine letting him roam.  I love it when I hear him in another room laughing.

Daffodil's Avatar Daffodil 05:55 PM 05-19-2011

There are babies who are happy playing alone?  In a separate room from their parents?  Why didn't I get one of those?!


If either of my babies had been content to play alone in another room, I would have let them.

MSWmama's Avatar MSWmama 06:09 PM 05-19-2011
DS isn't crawling yet but I certainly let him play alone for a few minutes if I'm in earshot. I'm thrilled that he does it, and consider it to be his small way of making up for the fact that it takes 30 minutes and an act of Congress to get him to take a 15 minute nap without my boob in his mouth. redface.gif
YayJennie's Avatar YayJennie 06:58 PM 05-19-2011

Oh yes.  Both my son (who is now 26 months old) and my daughter (who is almost 6 months and not crawling) played happily alone while I did stuff around the house.  My house is very well baby proofed, and I have no problem leaving baby to independently play while I do some dishes or switch laundry.  Obviously I check on them frequently, and if they're fussy I'll wear them, but happily playing babies?  I don't mess with a good thing!

cocoanib's Avatar cocoanib 07:24 PM 05-19-2011

No, not really.

We currently live in a 500ft condo, so for the most part we are together.

I will step out of the livingroom for a second to grab a diaper or something, but not to leave her playing by herself.

I'm just not comfortable with that.


tzs's Avatar tzs 07:37 PM 05-19-2011

Originally Posted by liberal_chick View Post

Yes, ds3 plays wherever he chooses.  There is nothing he can get into or that can hurt him, so I'm fine letting him roam.  I love it when I hear him in another room laughing.



my babe would sometimes climb up and down the stairs herself as well (after i had taught her to do it safely and i was confident in her abilities).

not only do i not feel guilty but i know that if she could play independantly and i fostered it, it would be so good for her. id' even have to hold myself back from going to her sometimes knowing that it would interrupt her "flow."

KSDoulaMama's Avatar KSDoulaMama 08:03 PM 05-19-2011

Depends on the room... I let her play in her room alone if I need to do quick chores in the rest of the main level of the house because there's not really anything dangerous in there. We do have a small house though, and I listen for her. Otherwise no, I'm in the same room as her. We've only babyproofed things that could actually be dangerous in the house (she can't get to anything sharp or poisonous.) She can, however, make huge messes and I'd rather she didn't tear our books to shreds or something. Most of the time she likes to be where I am, though. :)

new2this's Avatar new2this 10:41 PM 05-19-2011

In the living room she will if I am cooking but I can hear her and check on her all the time. Most times she will try to find a way to get to me since we don't have gates at the moment but improvising with objects to block off

Terrilein's Avatar Terrilein 01:27 AM 05-20-2011

I live in an 80 m² (860 ft²) appartment, but ds doesn't have access to all areas because some doors are closed to keep the cats out of certain spots. He gets to roam freely through the kitchen, dining room, living room and balcony. Still, he prefers to hang out with mama.

katelove's Avatar katelove 02:08 AM 05-20-2011

Mostly we're together because that's what she prefers. No problem going into another room for a minute to get a nappy/drink/pee/phone etc. Sometimes she will wander down to her bedroom and play for a little while while I'm in the living area (probably about 6-7m away at most). I'm fine with her playing alone if she chooses to.

P.J.'s Avatar P.J. 04:40 AM 05-20-2011

Definitely! Probably more than I should, because our house is mostly babyproofed but not 100%, and in the garden there are all sorts of rocks and stuff he puts in his mouth. I try to stay in view when he's outside and not leave him alone for more than about a minute if I have to go inside.


As for if that's bad parenting, I think only if you're leaving a baby alone most of the time, that's not good. But letting themplay alone sometimes is healthy IMO and I think it's invasive not to (unless of course the baby wants you there all the time, as many do).

Llyra's Avatar Llyra 07:21 AM 05-20-2011
Yeah, sure. I can't understand why putting a baby in a safe place for a short time, to amuse him/herself, is a problem? It never would have occurred to me to consider that a problem. Maybe it's because I'm naturally a solitary type, and it makes sense to me that even babies sometimes just want everybody to go the heck away? My girls especially always seemed to relish and enjoy that time. DD1 used to cry to be put down, from an early age-- she'd be in a rage, if I kept on trying to cuddle and nurse her, when what she really wanted was for me to put her down and let her be. The crying would shut off like magic.

DS was less so-- I think he's got less of a need for privacy than the girls. He resisted more than a few minutes of "alone-time" and I tried to accommodate that as much as I could. I think it's about responding to their needs, while balancing your own needs and practical concerns.

Keeping in mind that I had twins and a toddler, all at once, too-- my house was babyproofed better than a daycare center. Babyproofing was a way of life for us, during those years.

I've met people who claim they never, ever, ever left their kid alone for even a second, until the child was like four or something. How the heck does that work, when there's more than one? Do I have to cart all three of them up the stairs with me every time I need to go run get a tissue for my nose or get the phone? I can't imagine it.

I'm not talking about leaving them to rot in a crib for hours-- we spent plenty of time holding and interacting and cuddling and playing.

I think it's been good for them, too. I see in them the natural assumption that entertaining themselves is their job, not mine, and that works really well for our personalities and lifestyle.
mommy212's Avatar mommy212 07:46 AM 05-20-2011

I would have if mine had wanted to, but he never wanted to be in another room without me. I think it is good for them to play on their own in a safe environment


KempsMama's Avatar KempsMama 07:48 AM 05-20-2011

My LO has free roam of the living room and playroom.  I try to discourage him from going elsewhere because it gets harder to hear.  He likes to stay pretty close to me or his brother though.

SilverFish's Avatar SilverFish 08:32 AM 05-20-2011

yeah, don't see why i wouldn't. i try not to get too wrapped up in anything in another room, just so i'm remembering to keep an an ear out for her. there are more and less babyproofed areas of the apartment too... the living room is totally safe, so i would happily let her hang out in there while i make dinner or work on something, same with her bedroom. the kitchen, office and our bedroom are less so. she still gets to wander around, but i tend to check up on her more often.


she has very recognizable patterns of exploration... i have plenty of time to intervene when she gets into something potentially unsafe. if i had more of a daredevil or experimenter, i might be more vigilant. we are moving soon, and i'm looking forward to having an even more child-friendly space for her to entertain herself in... our new space has a much better flow for keeping unsafe areas out of bounds.

MJB's Avatar MJB 08:54 AM 05-20-2011

I don't think my oldest played in a room alone until he was at least 3. My middle son and my daughter both played happily in a room alone from the minute they learned to crawl. My daughter is 10 mos. old and has free roam of the place with the exception of the bathroom, where we hide the cat's food, water, and litter box. If her brothers are home, she's usually in their room playing with them. 

whozeyermamma's Avatar whozeyermamma 03:39 PM 05-20-2011



I think the response is about what I figured - if EVERYone was telling me I was a lunatic and were speed-dialing CPS then I guess I'd worry. I do love the things he discovers when he's left to his own devices. The latest is this game where he tucks about 25 board books into the crack between the floor mattress and the sidecar crib.


(FWIW - I totally understand if mamas don't feel comfortable leaving their babes alone!)

Just1More's Avatar Just1More 07:30 PM 05-20-2011

Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

There are babies who are happy playing alone?  In a separate room from their parents?  Why didn't I get one of those?!


If either of my babies had been content to play alone in another room, I would have let them.


Totally!  My third liked to lay in the bassinet and look around.  And, she liked to sit in the swing.  What?!?!  Babies really DO that?!?!  I remember telling my dh, "I feel like I'm not mothering this one!" My first two had been needy just about every minute of every day, I couldn't imagine.  I just assumed when I saw a baby not being held their parents must have CIO. :bag


I let my babies play some on their own, if they will, but I do like to interact as much as possible.  I think it's good for them.  Actually, baby #4 desperately WANTS down, and she wants to do her own thing.  She's demanded to be down for a long time (4-5 months old?), and really only wants to interact with me if she needs something.  Otherwise, she wants to explore.  My third was more like that, too. 


I will say, though, that I am working really hard to lengthen my 3rd's attention span, and I am deliberately spending more time on the floor with the happy baby to call her attention to things and to encourage her to focus for longer periods of time.  There's just so much going on that their little minds flit from one thing to the next and, I feel, they need help learning to pay attention.  Mostly, I think they are just trying to keep up with the others.  I know that's not exactly what your question was about, but I wanted to throw it out there.




eclipse's Avatar eclipse 07:37 PM 05-20-2011
I was more likely to allow my kids to play alone when they were babies than when they were toddlers. My third child, in particular, was into every.freaking.thing and would destroy a room if I left him for more than a minute or two to pp.
Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 08:13 PM 05-20-2011
Absolutely. She is free to go wherever she wants other than the laundry room (kitty litter and food). None of the doors in our house really shut, so she walks about a lot. I will watch her walk into another room, wait about a minute, and then try to watch her without her noticing that I am watching her. The things she does when no one is watching is freaking adorable. Today I caught her holding a rubber duckie up to her ear and saying "hi". Yesterday I caught her nursing on our bell (one of those bells that you push the button down and it dings for the shopkeeps attention- it totally looks like a nipple smile.gif )
arieltron's Avatar arieltron 06:07 PM 05-23-2011

yes! I love it when DD plays alone, this is when she discovers new things, for instance about a month ago she started sitting up on her own while playing by herself. I feel comfortable with it, because she will always let me know she is done with playing by herself (she'll either come find me or cry) plus I'm constantly with her, so I feel like she gets plenty of one on one time as well.

sere234's Avatar sere234 06:54 PM 05-23-2011

I've been thinking about this lately cause I feel like I'm a helicopter mom! I'll leave DS in the next room alone but am a bit uncomfortable doing even that at times. Of course he's crawling, cruising, wanting to walk, and eats EVERYTHING so every other minute he'll fall, attempt to climb something, or eat a stray penny so it's a tricky age. Plus we live in a house in the woods and I NEVER know when an wasp/spider/fly/bug will die near my child and get eaten by him. Or DS will even try to grab a live one. Ick.


So no. My kid is way too fast and wily right now. And he gets bored easily so we move from room to room depending on what needs to get done and not all rooms are equally baby-proofed. :)

lkvosu's Avatar lkvosu 07:06 PM 05-23-2011


Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

There are babies who are happy playing alone?  In a separate room from their parents?  Why didn't I get one of those?!


Just what I was thinking! Sounds like a problem I'd like to have ;)


Katico's Avatar Katico 04:32 PM 05-30-2011

I definitely did!  DD has always been very happy to play independently (for which I am SO grateful) and I was perfectly comfortable leaving her in a safe place while I did dishes or whatever else in another room.  I checked on her frequently and always kept an ear on her - if I didn't hear a peep for a minute I would peek in!



Lemoncello's Avatar Lemoncello 02:35 PM 06-02-2011

I would be comfortable leaving my little guy in a babyproof area of the house to play on his own for a while, if we didn't have a dog! :) Our collie is the sweetest, gentlest creature on earth, and she would never do anything to purposefully harm Josiah. But she is soooo much bigger than he is and has frequently come close to stepping on him just because she wasn't watching where she was going. Plus, she loves to lick his face and hands...and he has taken to pulling her hair every chance he gets. So, um, unless he is in his crib or swing, I really can't leave the room for more than a couple of seconds...and he hasn't even learned to crawl yet! (When he does, the poor dog will be the one who will have to be on the look out! :p )


All that being said, I do let him play on his own, just in the same room I'm in. He loves to just sit on his blanket with his little basket of toys and play by himself while I cook or work on housework. :)

teraze's Avatar teraze 09:40 AM 06-03-2011

My son is almost 7 months and on the verge of doing everything - can almost crawl, can almost cruise, can almost get himself in a sitting up position.  He's still with me the majority of the time, and if he's not, it's because I've put him in a safe place...the king with a fun pillow ring (sad to have to end this soon), the floor with I can run do a load of laundry or attend to dinner.  Our home isn't quite baby proofed yet, so until we do that definitely not.  Last night, my husband and I were looking at baby products and came across the *coolest* pack and play - it has ten square feet of play space.  While I love my plus one being with me at all times, I think it's important that he play by himself, especially if he's the type that craves a little bit of solitude sometimes (like his momma!).  


So, no, not at the moment.  But if he's amenable, he'll play alone very soon!

neonalee's Avatar neonalee 04:43 PM 06-07-2011

Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

There are babies who are happy playing alone?  In a separate room from their parents?  Why didn't I get one of those?!


If either of my babies had been content to play alone in another room, I would have let them.


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