Saturday, January 9, 2010

Independent Toddlers that go WEEE!

Okay my title is really two topics but I'm trying for titles that will help me remember what a post is about when I go back later trying to find something.

As for the independent part, with John being home a lot the past month, we've taken to each entertaining one kid so they've had almost constant playmates in us. It's so much easier to play with one than two that we didn't realize that they weren't playing off by themselves as much as they used to. One day about a week ago, it dawned on me that I had not done my "Momma's Working, You Go Play" in a while. Basically I tell them that I'm working for 10, 15 or 20 minutes and that they need to go play. I usually give them a few suggestions: You can color, read a book, play Mr. Potato head, etc. Even though they don't understand time, they get what I'm asking. At first (if it's been awhile since I've used this technique) they will pull on my sleeves and whine but I mostly ignore them repeating, "Momma's working, you go play for 10 minutes" every once in awhile. Eventually they run off and go play. Sometimes Maddie will peak her head back in and say, "Momma, 4 more minutes?" Making up whatever number comes to her head. I always answer back with however many minutes are really left and she says okay and runs off to keep playing.

I used to let them play until they realized that they were bored, but I decided that wasn't teaching them to stick to their promise. So at the end of the time now, (as much as I hate it) I go in there and tell them that they did such a good job playing for 10 minutes by themselves. I ask them if they want to keep playing (yeah, right!) or if they want to read a book (or color, play kitchen, or whatever) with Momma. This system really seems to work for us. When I was consistent with it, I got up to 45 minute stretches of time. It really gives a good balance of independent play and interactive play with a parent.

As for the WEE part of the title... that's just a funny story from this morning. Maddie, Izzie and I were upstairs in my bedroom so I could get dressed. While I was in the closet, Izzie climbed up into the rocking chair that is in our bedroom. It spins completely around and rocks. Izzie very clearly told Maddie to, "Weee-eee me now! Ma-ddie!" Which translates into: "Maddie, please spin me around and around." (I'm sure the please was in there...) Then when she was all done she climbed down and Maddie climbed in the chair. Then Maddie said, "Izzie, WEEE me, now!" It was so cute to see them working together as a team and interacting in that way.

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