Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Learning to love Room Time

When Mr Sociable was a baby, we spent lots of time together - singing, reading books, playing games, cuddling. When I hung out the washing, he would watch me from the rocker (while I sang!). When I cooked dinner, he would be in the baby sling or watching me from the Jolly Jumper. As he grew, we continued these patterns - he followed me wherever I went, constantly chatting about the things we were seeing and doing. He didn't like the playpen very much, so I hardly ever used it. He didn't like playing by himself (no matter how much I encouraged him to do so) and I eventually just accepted that he would just be like that - a sociable kid who always wanted to be around others.

When I was pregnant with Mr Fun, I started to worry about how I was going to juggle two. People assured me that Mr Sociable would just get the hang of playing by himself after the baby was born. He didn't ;) Then, a few months ago I read this post and started to think about how nice "room time" would be. I couldn't imagine doing it with Mr Sociable though! A couple of months later, I asked one of my other friends about her routine (including Room Time) for her son. She suggested having some special "Room Time" toys.

One of our favourite Room Time toys - the "Build It" range from ELC
I decided that Room Time would be straight after breakfast on our "at home" days. The first day, I set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and gave Mr Sociable some toys to play with. He called out/came out of his room about 5 times in that 20 minutes (asking whether his time was up yet)! But I was determined to keep trying and, after 2 weeks, he was able to happily play in his room for 20 mins. Then one morning, he shocked me by asking if he could leave the table to go upstairs for Room Time!

Lego - Mr Sociable likes to make crazy super robot trucks
It's been a couple of months now and Mr Sociable will happily play in his room for 45 mins. He actually asks to have Room Time every day (even before preschool/playgroup/church) - so I do sometimes shorten the time - but we are also arriving a bit later at preschool these days!

Room Time has been a great addition to our family routine. I've also started to do "Playpen Time"with Mr Fun (for 10-20mins) - hoping to start good habits early. I use Mr Sociable's Room Time to get some morning things done (put on a load of washing, stack the dishwasher, get dressed, etc). But the greatest benefit is that Mr Sociable has learnt that he actually enjoys playing on his own. Although his preference is to have others to play with, he is now able to play by himself too.


glorya said...

that is fantastic. good on you for persisting. it's so worth it :)

Julie said...

Yay for room-time! Thanks for the link too btw.

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