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 GrowingKids.org answers some room time questions.