Alone Time for Toddler

Updated on June 23, 2009
C.W. asks from Glendale, AZ
6 answers

Jaymn is going to be 18 months next month and he doesn't like to play by himself. He has an older 7 year old sister who loves him dearly but likes to finally play by herself. Will I have to wait until he is 7 like her, before he plays by himself too? Help!! Ps. I have tried to put him in his room and show him his toys to play with. He will play with the toys, but as soon as you leave, he cries and chases after you.

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answers from Phoenix on

You won't have to wait until he is 7, but an 18-month old can certainly play with toys by themselves. They just don't like to be away from other people. Putting him in his room is not an option at that age. A compromise would be to have a basket of some toys in a room that you are often in. Like the kitchen or family room. That way you can go about your work and he can play while he still sees you. Also, schedule some play-time with him so he gets mommy time as well. In the kitchen you may want to have a low drawer or cabinet for him to "get into" filled with tupperware or things he can pull out and bang on or play with while you fix lunch or dinner. He gets the social comfort of being around you or sister, and you can still get household work done.


answers from Albuquerque on

I had the issue with my middle child, at the time he was the youngest and had a older 8 yr old brother, like your daughter, liked his alone time too. My middle child could not play by himself, be by himself, and always needed constant attention. It drove me absolutly nuts!! He finally out grew this stage, he is three now. He also has a little sister who plays with him. The tables are turned a little now, she wont leave him alone when he wants to be by himself.

Not saying you should have another baby, but possibly a playmate to come over and play with Jaymn for an hour or two, and let him play with that child for a time, while you walk away quietly.

Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on

Some kids entertain themselves better than others and as he gets older he should get better at this. The only thing I can think of is set up activities for him. What about arts and crafts too? My little ones love that! My baby is 15mos and her older siblings are 4 and 5 so this happens to her...While they love playing with her they also love playing with the toys without her since she tends to kinda wreck certain things! LOL All of mine have entertained them self pretty well even the 15mos old but she has her times when she wants others to play with her too!


answers from Albuquerque on

Hi C.,
You certainly have the right idea about your toddler. But learning to have alone time is a "skill" you'll have to teach and direct him in. It will take time and patience (and maybe a few tears), but it will help him in his development and social skills.

Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on

I agree with Debbie - an 18 month old can play independently, but I wouldn't expect him to play by himself in another room. Set him up with toys where you are and he'll learn to amuse himself while he watches you doing other things. Putting him in a room by himself and expecting him to stay there will feel like punishment to him.



answers from Phoenix on

Most 18-month-old children need to be in a room with someone. It's doesn't have to be the 7-yr-old. And they can be happy with their own toys, but not in a room by themselves. And, no, they usually can play by themselves when they are three or four, not seven.

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