Question for Stay at Home Moms

Updated on June 11, 2012
J.K. asks from Palmerton, PA
7 answers

Just curious how often you sit down and play with your toddler in a typical day? What kind of activities do you do? Is your toddler a good independent player?

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answers from Chicago on

I'm not one for sitting and playing with my children. They don't need me, so I let them play alone.

What I do instead is take them on outings every day. While out, I spend the whole time really with them. We go to the Zoo, local parks, today we are going to a forest preserve to go on a Dragonfly hunt.

At home, they play together or by themselves. They usually tell me to go away, especially my toddler.

We do read together almost every day after lunch, but I don't play more than 1 game a week or so with my 4 year old, and I don't play at all with my toddler.

Amazingly, the two year old knows his letters, shapes and colors (he;s learning his numbers) and my 4 year old reads. I talk to them constantly, but play? I wish I played more with them, but they are great independent players, so why mess with that?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I only have 1 child so I played with him a lot as a toddler and even beyond. I would estimate that we would sit down and play together at least 2 hours a day when I was a SAHM. I started teaching him board games when he was almost 2 (great way for him to learn about taking turns, sharing, winning/losing...skills that he would normally have learned with siblings). Playing together was also a great way for him to get lots of language exposure. He was always a very independent player but he would go through stages where he wanted a lot more of my time. If I had things to do, then I would set a timer and when he heard the timer go off, he knew that mommy had to get up to do other work.

Things we did:
rolling balls
stacking blocks and knocking them down
toy cars/trucks
collages (he loved making collages! I would put on the glue when he was little and he would stick on the stuff)
board games (Cariboo was his first)
stuffed animal make believe
play kitchen
make forts

Of course, we also had outings to parks, indoor play areas, and museums, but I have just focused on around the house stuff.

Now that he is older...8...I am always amazed at how well he entertains himself. He still loves putting on a "cape" and having huge imaginary battles outside complete with dialog with his imaginary soldiers. Or he picks up a novel and reads for hours.

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answers from Cheyenne on

Wow!! Great question!! My baby (Ok not so baby any more) is 4 now. She is great at playing alone. I like to listen to her when she is playing with the stuffed animals and dolls, some of the things she says and does is just to funny.
With that being said I often join her in her play. She LOVES having tea party! I play with her on and off through out the day for a few hours. My DH and son also play or read with her too, but I like to incurage he to play alone when she can. That way there is none driving her imagination and she is free to think up whatever she likes! Also it supports her independence, and I am not seen as a big ol play thing.
I think a ballace of fun and loving IS improtant just as much as independent play too

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answers from Bloomington on

Great question. I think it depends on how many kiddos you have. When I only had the first, we played together a lot. I don't know how much time we spent in an average day together (playing) seems so long ago. :) My oldest is now 4, and her sister is 2. They play very well together.... all day long. I'm around when I'm needed (like dressing dolls, reaching something, digging something out, etc.). When 2 y.o. is napping, I will spend that time with the 4 year on most days. Sometimes she just wants to play by herself. And like the first person said, it is so much fun listening to her play! Who knew markers could become people, and have FULL conversations with one another???

My philosophy is to stay hands off, and to not micromanage their play. But, I need to be in ear shot and be there when they ask about something and/or want to actually play with ME. :)

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answers from Rochester on

How often do you sit and play with your toddler? If it feels like enough and is good for you and your toddler...then great. If you feel like you should be playing with him/her more...then do it. Leave the dishes, laundry, whatnot until the baby is sleeping or hubby is home to spend time with the kid(s).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

It depends on the day...some days I do more than others. More than sitting down and playing with them...I tend(ed) to involve them in whatever I'm doing. They poor the flour in the bowl when we make muffins...pull the sheets up when we make the bed. With my daughter, we had a little vacuum cleaner and broom set...and she would sweep or vacuum with me...etc. I do 'try' to get out of the house once a day/every other day...generally a playground, nature walk, museum, we're going to the pool/splash pad...that kind of stuff. When we are at home and I am sitting and doing something with them...we do playdough, coloring, books, cars/trucks...I like to pretend I'm like Andy in Toy just take his toys and make up a story and act it out and get really into it. I don't know...I follow their lead. With 4 kids, there's also generally an older one that will happily sit down with the youngest and play with him as that point I just let them do what they want to do. I figure as long as it is appropriate and they're not making TOO much of a mess or burning the house down...I'm happy that they're playing so nicely together. All of my kids are very different...just different personalities...but none of them really struggle with playing independently. Even my clingy, full of anxiety 6 y/o can entertain himself for hours (especially outside...even moreso if it involves dirt and little men or trucks).

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answers from Chicago on

I did not "play" with my toddler and his toys very much. I showed him "options" of playing with toys if he seemed bored or confused, encouraged him while I cleaned, read a book or did something else. Do not get me wrong we had contact all the time, he would "help" me clean, fold laundry (18-24mo olds make good sock finders) put groceries away etc. plus we are cuddlers we just sat on the couch and cuddled or played "tickle wars" all the time. In addition the dogs (two labierminers at the time) loved to see what he was up to and would "play" with him. He would pick up their rope toy and they would gently tug if he was seated. When he was standing/walking he would lead them around the house by the rope their tails wagging and banging everything and him giggling all over the place. We interacted, but did not "play" a whole lot. Now we did at one point get ECI involved and in our therepy sessions we discussed a total of one hour/day specific play - around 2.5 so we are going to play cars but THIS is HOW we will do it and do that w/him for about 10 min then go away and come back with something else for another 10 and do this 6 times/day. But other than that no, even at 5 he is a good independent player at home, plays well with kids at preK and camp, and we have our time together. Now as a preschooler we read more books, go to the library together, play board games that have turned to video games (much easier) like monoploy or sorry or clue. We still cuddle and do simmilar things as when he was a toddler but I have my time and he has his time then we have our time - depending on the day more or less our time than others, I just go with it.

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