Works For Me Wednesday- Room Time

Every morning my girls spend between 30 to 45 minutes playing by themselves in their rooms.  I started this when both were about 2 months old and have done it almost every morning since.  When they were that young, it was play pen time.  At first, we put them in their car seat and put that in the play pen with a few toys hanging.  Then when they could sit up, it was 1 kid, 3 toys, and a few books.  

Now, it’s called room time. I got the idea from a book called Babywise and it’s been amazing!  Both girls have to stay in their rooms until I come to get them.  But that’s never a problem.  It’s just become something we do.

I give Emily, who’s 2, a few different options to play with.  These might include a coloring activity, blocks, dolls, puzzles, lacing activities, and books to read.  It can be anything she is able to do on her own. 

For Ashlyn’s room time I give her an activity to do in the beginning and once she has finished she is able to read books, play with her dolls, etc.  Some of her activities might include; a writing activity, puzzles, tanagrams, magnetic letters, sight word practice, etc.

They both love it. It teaches them to play independently, to be creative, and obedience.  We have also noticed that both girls have developed long attention spans.  They are able to focus on one task at a time instead of jumping from one thing to another.  It’s actually become a struggle to get them out of room time.  Emily wants to stay in and play by herself for up to an hour some days.

One of the best parts of room time is also the break it gives me.  I get a lot done while they are playing by themselves in their rooms.

When I tell friends about room time, many say their children would never be able to do that.  Don’t give up so fast.  It is definitely easier to do if you start them young, but why not try incrementally increasing the time?  Start out with one toy and try to do a 5-minute room time.  Then increase it by 2 or 3 minutes each week.  Before you know it, you’ll have 30 minutes to yourself and your child will be learning to play independently.  Oh, and one more helpful tip.  Stick to the schedule.  Do room time at the same exact time everyday, and it’ll work like a charm.

Here is a previous room time post with lots of activity ideas.

Check out more Works For Me Wednesdays here.

Childwise Chat has a good testimony about Babywise, and answers some room time questions.

24 Responses to “Works For Me Wednesday- Room Time”

  1. Leanne

    Oh I wish I had done something like this early on with Toots. Its taken her a long time to learn to play independently.

    March 11th, 2009 at 7:51 am
  2. Chris

    Do you let your two year old stay in her room by yourself? I have a 20 month old and he’ll play on his own in the living room, but I can’t imagine leaving him in his room upstairs while I’m downstairs.

    March 11th, 2009 at 12:03 pm
  3. Anne

    I started “room time” with her when she turned 2. She has no problem playing in her room and it made transitioning to a big girl bed easy too. She has never gotten out of her bed by herself. “Room Time” doesn’t have to actually be in her room. It could be in the living room as long as they are playing what you put out for them to play with and don’t come out of the room until you come to get them. It teaches both independence and obedience. If you decide to try it let me know how it goes. :)

    March 11th, 2009 at 2:45 pm
  4. Wani

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

    March 11th, 2009 at 5:00 pm
  5. Amanda

    We do room time as well. But, I have had to stop leaving Nolan in his room unsupervised. Here are some of the things Nolan likes to do in lieu of any activities I provide: climb on changing table and jump onto bed, “clean out” his closet (it has a lock, he can undo it), take all the clothes out of his armoire, open his window and push the screen out (good thing I caught this one quickly or he would have run to 436). Room time doesn’t work the best with active little boys that would LOVE to be left alone for a few minutes! :) Needless to say, Nolan’s room time is in the playroom now. Doesn’t help me get anything done, but that’s life with Nolan!

    March 11th, 2009 at 5:22 pm
  6. hadley

    What a great idea! I need to train my kids for this!

    March 11th, 2009 at 10:06 pm
  7. It Feels Like Chaos

    I do this in our playroom. It is completely baby-proofed and really helps me when I need to cook.

    March 11th, 2009 at 11:37 pm
  8. Jennifer

    Bethany has just started trying to push the boundaries with her room time. She will cover herself in a blanket and crawl out, assuming I can’t see her if she’s covered. :)

    March 14th, 2009 at 6:54 pm
  9. Joncast

    ммм. кто бы мог подумать ..

    April 4th, 2009 at 4:01 am
  10. Teaching Two » Pom Pom Patterning

    [...] my 5 year olds room time activity this morning I decided to have her do some patterning with the pom poms.  I created a sheet of [...]

    April 8th, 2009 at 10:32 pm
  11. Joncast

    hm… cognitively ))

    April 9th, 2009 at 1:45 am
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