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How much time for independent play?

580 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  slightly crunchy
How much time do you allow your toddler to play independently/with sibling vs. playing/singing/reading/etc with you? I know some toddlers are much more independent than others, but I'm trying to find the balance between providing appropriate stimulation and letting him learn to entertain himself.

Do you only play/read with your toddler when asked, and/or during certain routine times, like bedtime? Or do you actively seek out play time during the day? Do you ever turn down your toddler when they ask to play with you and encourage them to do something on their own?

Thanks for the help.
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If my 17month old twins are playing by themselves I'll let them go as long as they can while I try to get done as much as I can.
When they get up in the morning that is always snuggle time while they wake up. I'm trying to start story time right after lunch before naps. I give them books to look and while I read aloud from a book. My oldest is 11 and we have always read books aloud. I'm trying to get back in the habit. After supper in the evening we all are usually in the living room just playing together. We also try to get outside everyday for fresh air and exploration. I know that is not a definite amount of time. I think giving kids plenty of time to use their imagination and creativity is best. As my oldest got older I kept dress-up clothes, art supplies, legos. Anything that would encourage her creativity.
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nods nods. I have my 3.5yo and then i have a 2.5yo that i watch 4 days/week and another 2.5yo that i watch 2-3 days/week. and my 10.5mo old.

They have independant play before breakfast. Then we all have breakfast together. After breakfast we play outside cuz it will get too hot too fast (we're in arizona). So they play in the sandbox, swings, with the outside toys while i hang dipes on the line, or fold clothes in the laundry room (i can see out there). Sometimes i'll let them run thru the sprinklers. Or we'll do blocks, barbies, puzzles, dollhouse - i generally point them in the right direction and let them go. Like... 'why dont' you guys play dressup' or 'who can build the biggest tower' or 'look at all those nekkid barbies' lol.

Then they come in and have a snack and I usually set us up with a project. Arts and crafts or something in the kitchen depending on how creative i'm feeling lol. Then they usually watch Dora (gasp) and blues clues while I get lunch ready. After lunch they play for an hour until nap time. I get the two 2.5yos down for nap and sometimes if i'm lucky like today, the 10mo old too. Then my 4yo and i have mommy/zoey alone time and do something special that the babies can't do. A computer game, painting finger and toenails, her counting box or puzzles with small pieces. Or candyland. Her choice.

when the kids wake up we have another snack and usually they ask me to read for a bit . so we'll do some books, the some songs...they're really into the hokie pokie this week.

then they play independantly again till their moms come to pick up. So i'd say that i only intervene if they're not playing nicely with each other, if asked to join in a game i usually do ..even just for a little while. but i also try to let them play alone as long as possible so i can get stuff done. lol
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I have a 25 month old.

If he is playing happily by himself, I don't intervene.

Although, I am sometimes not sure what is meant by independent play. It's rare that he's totally in the next room from me. But sometimes he is playing by himself while I am reading my own book in the same room, for example. I guess that is what I mean by playing independently.

And when I am doing things with him, it is sometimes things like cooking and gardening and housework that need to be done. We usually do a lot of this together.

We do spend some time every day playing together. I make sure at least half the time the play is directed by him...he asks me to play and I ask him what he'd like me to do, and how I should play.

I don't spend a lot of time organizing crafts and projects for him to do, other than basic stuff like setting up paints, scissors, glue... I sometimes wonder if I should do more of this. I tend to worry that the things I am doing at home with him aren't "good enough" or stimulating enough compared to what his peers are getting in preschool. But hopefully that is just my own hangup.
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