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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep reading about toddlers who play alone. When does that start? My 27 mos dd does not like to play alone unless it is something like water play (I sit and read while watching her) or chasing the dog around the house or throwing beans at the cat (she has a dry bean box). Otherwise, the only way I can clean the house is to put in a dvd for her to watch while I clean. She won't leave me alone to clean otherwise.<br><br>
If your toddler plays alone, how old?<br><br>
What does your dc do alone? Maybe we need different activities.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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My toddler (32 months) has been playing alone once in a while for several months. When she does, it's usually when she is able to take things in and out of a container or box, and rearrange them. She does that with seed packets, for example. Or a box of cans. She'll take the cans and line them up single file in a long stretch across the floor; then put them back, take them out .... etc. She'll play quietly like that for 20 or 30 minutes.<br><br>
I'll be interested to see what others say about their toddlers playing alone.
 

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DD is 21 months old and plays alone a lot. (Usually I am in the same room either on the computer or reading or something or cooking or cleaning.). She will include me in the activities (mama- look etc) but will play for quite some time by herself. She loves to draw, play with Loving Family people (swingset and slide especially), old style little people and cars/houses, she will prepare meals with her kitchen set (and then hand me a cup and dish to eat and drink), she likes to play with the cats, jump on the bed (although she likes when I sing ring around the rosie while she does this), and general take stuff out of something, put something else in type of stuff. I really tried to encourage her to play by herself, I loved to play by myself as a kid and have given her short periods of alone time since she was very young. Since I do play with her a lot- I think that is why she will play alone. Sometimes if I am busy with something else and have not played with her, I can play with her for 15 minutes and then get up and she will continue on her own.
 

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My little guy, 22 months, is very independent -- always has been. Right now, as a matter of fact, he's downstairs in the (obviously, childproofed) living room sitting at his little table and coloring. Or playing with his trains. As long as I can hear him, I know he's OK and not getting into too much trouble. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> We have a loose routine, but much of his day is playing by himself (although usually it's in the playroom/office with me). He will play with his blocks, arrange little cars and animals, zoom cars and trucks around, look at books, chase the cats, play with foam letters (we have about seven alphabets' worth of these), climb on things, run down the hallway and back, bang on his piano and xylophone. Or, if we're in the kitchen, he likes to stack and carry around the cans of cat food and whatever bits and pieces of appliances (like the bowl from the Kitchen Aid) he can get his hands on.<br><br>
This isn't to say I don't play with him -- I do. But I've got so much else to do, between housework and WAHM stuff and writing and cooking, that it's tremendous for both of us if we can have together-but-separate time, or parallel activities. That is, if I'm vacumming, I'll give him a broom to push around. Or just make sure that he has something to hold his interest. If he starts to seem bored or restless, I'll either point out a toy, or suggest an activity, or start to play something by myself --he'll then come join in, 9 times out of 10, and I can either stay and play along or go back to my work. A lot of times, too, I comment on what he's doing: "Oh, what a tall tower you built," or "Gee, your bear puzzle! You haven't played with that in a long time!" or ask him to do play-tasks: "Can you find 2 red cars?" or "Where's the Q?" etc. That way we're connected, too.<br><br>
Does this help?<br><br>
As an aside, I'm curious what a bean box is -- I'm guessing it's just a box with dry beans in it, but how do you keep your DC from a) swallowing them; b) sticking them up her nose; c) throwing beans everywhere? I don't know if I could trust my little rapscallion with that! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
~Nick
 

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DD is 26 months and plays alone some each day. Usually I am nearby doing my own activities while she plays with playdough, kitchen set, blocks, crayons, dolls, books, whatever. She enjoys picking out her own activities and making up her own stories about her play. She's been able to amuse herself since about 18 months. She will offer to include me or ask that I turn on music etc. She has a good attention span for single activities, but will often switch if something new strikes her fancy. She will play happily for 1/2 hour or more. I do play actively (on the floor) with her throughout the day also, and include her in household tasks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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As an aside, I'm curious what a bean box is -- I'm guessing it's just a box with dry beans in it, but how do you keep your DC from a) swallowing them; b) sticking them up her nose; c) throwing beans everywhere? I don't know if I could trust my little rapscallion with that! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
~Nick</div>
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Yes, a bean box is a box of dried beans and yes she does tend to make a big mess but it is not too hard to clean up. I got the idea from her co-op preschool where they have a bean table. She does not eat them. I just introduced this to her as she is finally beyond that. Now, if I could just get her to stop giving them to the dog. Of course, we do this together. Otherwise, yes the beans would be everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, so far it sounds as if my dd is capable, age-wise, of playing alone. Sounds like I just need to try harder. There is a fine line between not wanting her to cry and her fussing a bit to get me to do what she wants. I think I've been leaning too much towards no tears at all, ever. So, now I end up letting her watch tv too much. I think we will just go cold turkey for a few days and see how it progresses.<br><br>
Thanks!<br><br>
Eager to hear more stories from other mamas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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DS plays alone unless I'm doing something that's interesting to watch...like cleaning. He'll play by himself when I'm at the computer, but when it comes to cleaning, I just plan on it taking me twice as long. I try to involve him as much as I can or he is just in the way. Like when I make the bed, he brings me the throw pillows that get put on the floor when I get into bed at night. He helps put his toys away and sometimes I send him off to "look for the kitty" so I can do something like sweep where he was standing.
 

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Colwyn is apparently a really independent kid. I've encouraged (but not enforced) playing alone since he was little.. I'd let him lie under his Gymini while I folded clothes for about 15 minutes when he was 2-3 months old. Whenever he fussed, I'd pick him up.. but he was usually content to lie there and bat at the toys. I always talk to him about what he's doing, but don't always actively play with him.<br><br>
At 19 months, about 75% of his playing is alone. That is to say, I'm in the same room with him, he's putting his Little People in and out of cars, and I comment on what he's doing and ask questions, but don't actually play with the Little People. Does that make sense? We do read a lot of books, and do a lot of tickling, cuddling, and talking about what we see outside, but I don't count that as play.<br><br>
As for what he plays with.. he loves his Little People (specifically putting people in and out of cars.. not really pretend play with the sets), random airplanes and cars that he has, his train table, puzzles, and a big Little Tikes climber we have in the play room. He doesn't normally spend more than 5 minutes on any one activity, but will sort of roam about the playroom/living room/kitchen, picking up whatever strikes his fancy.
 

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MY DD is 16 months and plays alone a bit during the day.<br>
We have all her toys organized in bins and she likes to go through them... taking toys out and then putting them back.<br>
She's color, stack blocks and push her babies around in her baby carriage or wear them in her sling (how cute).<br>
She also has a thing w/ shoes and will sit on the floor taking her shoes off and putting them back on again. She loves to put shoes on and off and try to walk around in our shoes also.<br>
She also likes to wear her "princess dress" (an old dance costume for my Dh's cousin) and listen to music and dance and spin in it.<br>
Other than that, she does the usual chasing of the dog. She likes when I play with her too, but she can be pretty content playing w/ her toys.
 

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My DD started playing alone more around the time she turned 2. She's 28 months now, and typically doesn't play alone for more than 20 minutes or so, but she does play for 10-20 minutes fairly often. She really likes making loops in shoelaces or bits of string or rope, and then putting them around things and using them to lift or drag the things. She also plays with little plastic animals, moving them around and making them do things. And balloons are popular, particularly helium balloons (because they have strings that she can wrap around things.) Today she sat down for a while and played with her wooden train that has blocks that fit onto pegs, then she started dragging around a plastic dinosaur that we had previously tied a shoelace to, saying "No, dinosaur!" whenever it fell over and then setting it upright again.<br><br>
She entertains herself best when we're out in the yard. If I'm working on something, she may hang out near me for quite a while - 30 minutes to an hour - without actually needing me to do anything to entertain her. She'll pick flowers, or pick and eat greens from the cold frame, or dig with her trowel, or play with sticks and stones, or chase bugs. If we're over at my sister's house, it's even better, because there are often things there she hasn't seen before - a ball, or a pile of straw. (The straw proved to be amazingly entertaining.)
 

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I think it certainly depends on personality. There are children who are just independent from the beginning, and play alone frequently, others don't. DD rarely plays alone, I try to encourage it but it just isn't her, dh hates to be alone too. I know that as she hets older she'll be able to play more alone, but I'm not counting on it anytime soon!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Faithsmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She also has a thing w/ shoes and will sit on the floor taking her shoes off and putting them back on again. She loves to put shoes on and off and try to walk around in our shoes also.</div>
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What is it with toddlers and shoes??? My 17 month old is madly in love with them, too. :LOL She also likes looking at books (especially ones with pictures of babies); dancing to music; scooting around on her ride-on toy; pushing her walker wagon; going "vroom-vroom" with toy cars; and putting things in cardboard boxes and other containers. She'll sometimes play with Duplo, but she's not interested in wooden blocks, shape sorters, puzzles, or stacking toys...or the toddler-sized jungle gym we got for her.<br><br>
Like Rachel's Colwyn, our DD has always played alone part of the time, while I worked nearby. I guess I should mention that we're not exactly a "Dr. Sears poster family." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: We've used some AP ideas, but we've also borrowed a lot from RIE and Montessori, who believe that "respecting children's needs" includes giving them space to do their own thing, even as tiny babies. This seems to have worked well with DD. We'll see what happens with baby #2! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it certainly depends on personality. There are children who are just independent from the beginning, and play alone frequently, others don't. DD rarely plays alone, I try to encourage it but it just isn't her, dh hates to be alone too. I know that as she hets older she'll be able to play more alone, but I'm not counting on it anytime soon!</div>
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Yes, that is my dd. She has always been a high needs child, a fussy baby. I think she is outstanding and brilliant and fabulously smart and silly but she fits dr sears fussy baby description to a T. She just wants to be with me. I guess that is why we resorted to using tv to settle her when I need to some chores without her, like paying bills or vacuuming (she is afraid of it). She watches a dvd while I clean or pay bills and I get the whole thing done really quickly and the we have the rest of the day to hang out together. In the 60-90 minutes that the dvd takes, I can get a lot done. I am hoping that as she gets more able to be independent, more able to, for example, color with crayons without giving them to the dog or do a little craft project on her own or play house by herself, then we can turn the tv off.
 

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Another vote for personality, here. My dd amazed me at 9 months old when she could sit and look through her board books for 30 minutes without looking up once. I really irritated her once or twice by trying to talk about the books as she looked. After that, I took her lead and she's played independently for stretches of time like that ever since.<br><br>
Now, at a few months shy of 3, she'll play with homemade playdough, color, "cook" in her play kitchen, build with blocks, work puzzles, etc. for an hour at a time some days.
 
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