How much time does your 3-5 year old spend alone? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How much time does your 3-5 year old spend alone (total)?
Under 30 minutes a day 22 34.38%
30 minutes - 59 minutes 18 28.13%
1 hour - 1.5 hours 9 14.06%
1.5 - 2 hours 8 12.50%
More than 2 hours 7 10.94%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-25-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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By "alone" I mean something like this (you adjust the meaning a little if you want):

Only person of any age in the room

No visual "entertainment" like TV, video game, etc.

It doesn't have to be in huge chunks, but I think if it's only 2 minutes at a time several times a day, maybe I wouldn't count that as an hour, KWIM?

Oh, and awake!

Also, love to know (in a post) how LONG at a time they tend to last alone in a room.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Not very long. He'll play by himself frequently, but he's usually in the same room I am. Between him and puppy, I've got permanent shadows where ever I go.

ETA: he's 4 btw.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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5 minutes tops. He's 5. He plays toys by himself for a good solid hour often, but someone has to be in the room with him. He needs an audience.

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Old 06-25-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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My 4 y/o is almost never alone. But he and his big brother (7) spend a ton of time, alone, together, kwim?
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I figured siblings would be a major factor in this!
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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ds ( 4) is rarely alone. he may go into another room by himself for 5 min or so but 98% of the time he is in the same room as me or dh

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Old 06-25-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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My 4.5yo, if he`s playing with his animal figurines (that are his most imp. companions) and gets really engrossed in his pretend game can play alone in a room for abour half hr. ig i am in the room, an hour sometimes!
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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My 3 will frequently play by herself-she loves to play dolls especially. I voted 1-1.5 hours, but this is split up into anywhere between 10 min and 30 min. chunks throughout the day. I should add that our house is really tiny, so even if she is technically alone in a room, she is still only a few feet away, lol.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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At first I was thinking not very much. I have two boys 3 and 4, so there is not much time during the day where they are not together. BUT, they both have quiet time/nap where they have to stay in their room and either nap or play quietly. So, that could be an hour and a half if they choose not to sleep. Plus it's pretty much the same at bedtime. If they're not tired, they can read/play quietly....lately, that has been about an hour and a half too!

But I voted for one hour, because that's a regular occurrence in our house.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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We have an only. She has always been fine with playing alone and it may *be* related to being an only. There are times that she wants to be with us, but also is OK with alone time. She's now 8 and sometimes when she can't go outside, she likes to just be in her room reading... and she'll do that from 9 to 5, taking a break only to eat. Sometimes *I'll* be the one that gets lonely and ask her to come out and "play". That usually means play some cards or help with dinner or bake some bread together or something else. ETA: I voted 2+ hrs. and that time has just gotten longer as she's gotten older.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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My 5 year old DD will play with herself for very long periods of time- up to two hours, I'd say. There are a lot of factors that contribute to that, I'm sure. For one thing, she's an only child and home schooled, so she isn't used to constant playmates. I am a SAHM but I have an etsy store that takes up quite a bit of my free time. I will play with her some each day but she knows not to expect my constant attention. It's just been this way since she was tiny so she's very good at entertaining herself. She wanders in and out of wherever I am to ask questions, show me a drawing, ask for help with a fiddly dolly dress or ask if I will play a game in a little while- so I guess she isn't totally isolated or anything, but she doesn't expect me to entertain her.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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Oops, I voted wrong. Even though I read it I missed the part where there could be no person of any age in the room. I was thinking more like w/o parents or adults entertaining them. Initially I voted over 2 hours, but he has a sibling and they are always together. So that would take it down to pretty much never. Our house is like 900 square feet and there are 5 of us, the older two share a room. I don't know if it is even POSSIBLE for him to be completely alone in any section of the house Unless maybe the other 4 people in the family are gone. Which would be illegal.

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Old 06-25-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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I voted 1.5-2 hours, but I don't really know. He plays outside by himeslf all the time - my older two aren't as interested in playing in the yard. He will also grab a book and go sit on his bed and look through it, or get out his blocks and build in the playroom. He is with his sibs a lot, but he can hang on his own, too. Then there's also the time spent sneaking around doing the things he's not supposed to be doing .

DS will be 5 in September.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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They generally split up and pursue their own interests for maybe 1/2 an hour to an hour each day (usually this means one wakes up earlier than the other in the morning and manages not to wake up the sleeping sib). Time spent playing with each other rather than requiring a parent's immediate presence is probably more like 4-6 hours a day now. They're 4 and 5 years old.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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No sleeping, no tv, no brother, no me, or no dad would leave the time she is in the bathroom and even then it's not a safe bet she's alone.
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Mine is older now. But, at that age, she'd spend a couple of hours in her room alone. Or in the kitchen playing with something at the table. She also had free run of the backyard, so she'd disappear out there for a while.

I'd say she'd last for 30 minutes, to two hours playing alone.

(oh.. she'd spend an hour in the bathroom playing with "makeup" or making messes in the tub by herself)
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:53 PM
 
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we have a small house w/ a open floor plan. Unless you want to play in the bathroom, you are basically always "in the same room". Also, my 2 dc ages 3 and 5 LOVE to play together..... my oldest will occasionally ask for alone time, but its rare.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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Mine is five, and I said 30-60 minutes. But, that's certainly not every day. Sometimes she's really happy to play in her room for an hour, sometimes she just wants to be with me...

She loves Polly Pockets and can play very happily with them for extended amounts of time.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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DD1 (turns 4 next month) will happily play alone for an hour at a time. She doesn't often get this chance, though, since she's one of four kids. My 5.5 year old DS1 doesn't like to play alone, though he will for about 45 minutes or so. Even my 23 month old DD2 will go up to their room and sit down and "read" books by herself for 30 minutes.

I think (with my kids, at least) the fact that they have siblings and are around them almost constantly makes my girls crave some alone time. DS1 is extremely extroverted and prefers constant companionship.

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Old 06-26-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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My 4.5 year old hates to do anything alone. He will sometimes spend a chunk of time doing something on the computer by himself, and will sometimes play or build something by himself. Occasionally he might spend as long as 30 minutes or even more doing something like that, but that's not common. He usually wants his sister or a parent to be doing an activity with him, and will refuse to do it alone even if it's something he really wants to do and could do by himself. Instead he'll just yell and cry and absolutely refuse all suggestions that he just go ahead and do the thing himself. When he can't get someone to do what he wants, he'll often choose to just sit on the sofa and sulk rather than play by himself.
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Old 06-26-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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I voted 30-59 mins, but only because he has 'rest hour' in his room and usually doesn't sleep. This is not something he would choose to do on his own but I insist. Otherwise, he won't even let me leave the room to pee on my own.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:20 PM
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I voted over 2 hours a day but that will change soon since my 4.5 yr. old is starting K in August. But during the school year, he was alone for most of the school day and for half his weekends (my oldest goes to his dads). He had preschool 3 half-days a week and usually one playdate a week but otherwise would play by himself in his room, read a book, or play outside alone until his brother got home. Currently my oldest has been on vacation with his dad for 2 weeks (back in a couple days) so he's been spending lots of time alone, inside or out. He does play with the neighbor kids a lot and we go do stuff, but at home he is usually doing something by himself (although he's been watching too much TV because of the World Cup).
I'd say he plays by himself for about half an hour at a time, sometimes longer if he gets into a puzzle or something.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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Not very much since it is summer and the oldest is home, but normally (lately at least) the 15 minutes it takes to nurse his little sister down for nap, and the time it takes to hang a load of clothes on the line when his sister is sleeping.

He is great at playing alone, when given the opportunity. When I sit in the window and read (listening for the littlest to wake so we can join him) he plays in the dirt with cars for sometimes the whole 2 hr nap.

I don't think dd2 will ever get to this point though lol.

DD1 was great at it but I think that is because she was a only child for so long.

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Old 06-26-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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At 3...hmm, I don't remember, but probably about half an hour. She learned to read right before age 5, and that made a huge difference. I would say we've topped out at about an hour and a half? She sits and draws without needing anything from me for long periods, but I'm often right nearby, like in the kitchen. But she is quiet and not needing stuff.

I am big on encouraging independent play. From a very young age, I "fade out" when I see the child is playing happily. DS is 2 and will play by himself (though I am usuaully nearby, though not engaged with him) for easily 15-20 minutes.

ETA: Oh, I misread. TOTAL time? I'm sure it was at least an hour a day for my oldest at 3. It's probably an hour a day for DS now. If DD is home all day (she's 6) I would say 2 hours a day for her.

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Old 06-26-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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DS just turned three and is a pretty independent little kid, always has been. I'm a firm believer in letting kids entertain themselves, right from the start, and I think that helped. DS will happily play by himself for anywhere from 5-60 minutes at a time, many times over the day. Funny, he'll be super quiet and playful after dinner ebcause he knows it's bedtime. He seems to hope that if he's quiet, I'll forget to put him to bed.
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Old 06-27-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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DD is four and will play for 30+ minutes at a time alone. Sometimes she's content by herself for well over an hour. She goes outside alone to play, too--we live on 80 acres and have a well-defined area that she is free to explore.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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I voted less than 30 minutes but my 4.5 yo's are twins and they're always together. They will do things quietly by themselves for quite awhile, but they're almost always in the same space. Very occassionally one will take a book and go and sit in a corner by herself for a long time, but it doesn't happen more than once a week. I don't know if they didn't have each other how willing they would be to be by themselves.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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My 5yo would come home from half day kindergarten and spend up to two hours by himself, doing legos, listening to books on tape.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I would have to say pretty much zero. My boys are 3-7 in age, and share a bedroom, share toys, share naptime, share playtime...

The only circumstances I can think of would be if my 3 yo fell asleep at rest time and the older boys left him to sleep when they got up. Or occasionally my 5 yo comes for a "cuddle" and after 40 minutes of him jumping around on me and chattering I ask him to go play in the living room until his brothers wake up. That lasts maybe 15 minutes or so and doesn't happen every day.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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Well, I have a 14-month-old, so it's hard because she walks between the 3.5 and me in our small apartment. I would say an hour maximum, when baby is napping if I am working at that time. She's usually playing.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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