Today I introduced some independent play time to Ash. He’s just over 10 months and has also decided to drop down to 1 nap a day *sigh*. 1 nap a day means big chunks of the day to find things to keep him entertained and stimulated.
No I’m a teacher mum so firstly, yes I am an overachiever and want to keep him developing and stimulated but it is also way better, for me, to split my day up in chunks or blocks, kind of like ‘subjects’ at school. So I sat this morning and did a bit of research into the development of a 1 year old and I’ve split my day up into different blocks (look out for my next blog post on this).
But one thing I do want Asher to be is independent. I want him to be able to entertain himself and be content doing it. I don’t want to be his constant source of entertainment.
Now as a teacher I’m a big believer in the environment being a teacher in itself. So it is my job as a mum to set up the environment to foster learning. So it is up to me to create activities or set out toys that will stimulate him correctly.
Back to independent play. Now because we have a rather large chunk in the morning before nap time, after breakfast we wash his hands, wash his face and brush teeth and then get dressed for the day. I then pop in his travel cot with some toys and slightly close the door.
It is important that he is in a safe place where he can’t hurt himself and that I can still see or hear him. I’ve put his travel cot in his room where I can still see him on the monitor. I’ve also closed the door slightly so that he can’t see me, which I feel will be unfair to him.
I also out toys in there that he hasn’t played with in a while. I put some soft toys, some books etc. All age related.
This morning was our first go at independent play time but he lasted 30 minutes without a whinge. That’s a win in my books. I will gradually increase this to 45 minutes.
I also used this time to get myself dressed for the day and quickly tidy the kitchen.
Now, it is upto you how you want to do independent play time. You can set them on a blanket somewhere, you could put them in a travel cot, you could even put a baby gate on their room door and put them in their room. I will hopefully get Asher to a stage where he is just in his room playing independently.
A big reason I want Ash to get used to this now is because in a few month we will be welcoming baby number 2 and so Ash might need to entertain himself a lot more, especially in the beginning, when I’m feeding etc.
Do you do independent play time already? If so, what do you do?