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Play Time

13 months old

There are a few different kinds of play time according to Babywise (here are also links to what a Babywise mom did for the various play times): structured play time, free play time, Independent play time

Structured play is where the family member/nanny leads in the play time, exploring something new together, giving demonstrations, or early “lessons” around a particular skill for a particular time. Free play is letting the child chose what to play with and for how long while the family member/nanny is present. Independent play is where the child must, well, play by themselves and use their own imagination. They have no outside input or interaction that might direct what their mind comes up with because the family member/nanny is not readily visible. (This is where a video monitor is handy.)

I like this post describing independent play from a Babywise mom. The highlighted benefits of developing independent play time are:

  • Mental Focusing Skills
  • Sustained Attention Span
  • Creativity
  • Self-Play Adeptness
  • Orderliness

I had read that what preschool teachers wished kids would learn by the time they start school, wasn’t their ABC’s or 123’s, but how to sit still and pay attention. So, I actively started this with Nessness at about 13 months. I would place her in the playpen with her toys and then set the timer for 10 minutes. Initially she’d stand there looking over the rail and just cry. But I wouldn’t pick her up until the timer went off so that she would understand it’s not her crying making me pick her up, it’s the timer indicating she’s done. By the third day she would just protest a little but quickly sit down and start to play. If she played really well for the entire period then we’d increase her time in the playpen by five minutes the next day. If she’s having a particularly cranky day (teething or didn’t sleep well) then I might reduce the time on the timer so that she still hears it go off before I come get her. Now she’s up to 45 min of happy, independent play time. Which, I must say, is EXCELLENT for running about getting domestic duties done. When the timer goes off, she jumps up and yells in excitement as you come get her. It’s pretty cute.

What I have to work on however, is getting her to clean up her toys at the end of independent play. There was a period where she started throwing toys out of the play pen so I made her pick each one up and put it back into the pen. She has since stopped throwing toys out. Next is to actually tidy her toys inside the pen by putting things back into their containers.

As for the type of toys I’ve got in there…nothing battery operated so that any entertainment is solely from her imagination. There’s a bag of mega blocks for her to eventually learn how to build things with, and so that all the pieces are contained in a small area. I’ve also got a soft photo album with pictures of family…she really likes looking through it and pointing at faces. A couple small stuffies and some rattles. There’s probably too much in there now that I’ve listed it out…ha ha. I’ll thin some out for use with Blanket Time…my next baby training exercise. Stay tuned!

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Taking Over

30.5 weeks old

So far we’ve accumulated:

  • Jolly Jumper
  • Exersaucer
  • Floor playmat
  • Baby Rocker
  • Play pen

We’ve been given most of these items, for which we’re very thankful…however, it’s taking over the living room. I need a coffee table but then there wouldn’t be space for the playmat. Considering the “living areas” are where we spend most of our time, it does make sense for her play/discovery areas to be in the same place. But must it take over the entire room? I don’t like that. I want to reclaim the living room…or a bit of it anyways. (I need something to hold drinks and snacks for our movie/TV time after she’s in bed.) Trying to think of how. We’re slowly developing the attic which will be a great play area once it’s done. But “slowly” is the keyword here. Meanwhile…what are other ways to manage? (So thankful she’s not mobile yet. Oh man.)

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Day in the life of a 4.5 month old

19.5 weeks old

On a three hour feed schedule:

08:00 am – wake and feed, put her on the toilet and hope to catch a pee or poo, then tummy time and exercises
09:30 am – nap time
11:00 am – feed, toilet, independent blanket play time with her stuffies on the floor, tummy time, read a book or two with Mommy
12:30 pm – nap time
14:00 pm – feed, toilet, independent blanket play time, play pen time, tummy time
15:30 pm – nap time
17:00 pm – feed, toilet, tour the house with Mommy, play pen time, tummy time
18:30 pm – accompany Mommy and Daddy at the dinner table
19:30 pm – bath time
20:00 pm – feed, bible verse/story, prayers and bed time

I need to work in a walk into that schedule….
I’m also trying to work her into a 3.5 hr feed schedule. I started trying it a few weeks ago and it seemed to be working but then she regressed into having meltdowns at every nap time through the day. Her naps were getting completely shot…so Ms PR recommended I go back to the 3 hr schedule and see if that’ll help….so that’s what we’re trying again.

Here’s the 3.5 hr schedule that worked for about a week:

08:00 am – wake and feed, put her on the toilet and hope to catch a pee or poo, then tummy time and exercises
10:00 am – nap time
11:30 am – feed, toilet, independent blanket play time with her stuffies on the floor, tummy time, read a book or two with Mommy
13:30 pm – nap time
15:00 pm – feed, toilet, independent blanket play time, play pen time, tummy time, tour the house with Mommy
17:00 pm – cat nap time
18:00 pm – feed, toilet, accompany Mommy and Daddy at the dinner table
19:30 pm – bath time
20:00 pm – feed, bible verse/story, prayers and bed time

It’s usually nearly 9pm by the time she’s in bed and she’ll also usually sleep straight until 6 or 7am. I give her a quick feed and put her back to bed until her “first feed” at 8am. We’ve also found she likes warm rooms…25-27C preferably. Any cooler and she’ll wake at 3 or 4am.

What are your schedules like? What’s your bedtime routine?