Posted in Babywise (-wise parenting series), Structuring the day, toddler, tagged attention span, baby, babywise II, creativity, daily schedule activities, Ezzo, independent play time, mental focus skills, orderliness, pack 'n play, playard, pre-toddlerwise, roomtime, scheduling, self-play, toddler on November 13, 2009|
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What is Independent Play Time (IPT)?
Independent play time is a time when your child plays alone, without you or other siblings around. You choose the time of the day this type of play will occur and also the toys that your child will play with. Independent play time should happen at the same time every day. Typically Independent play time takes place in a pack ‘n play or play yard for younger babies/ toddler, and older toddlers will have room time in their rooms, which is called roomtime. My son is currently 13 months old and he has his independent play time in a play yard, which is larger than a pack ‘n play. The one I own is North State Superyard XT Portable Playard & Gate.
How long should IPT Last?
If you are just starting out, I would suggest starting with 10 minutes. See how your child does. Once your child is able to play alone for 10 minutes without fussing, add an additional 5 minutes. Keep adding 5 minute increments until you reach your desired length. Use a timer that will send off a loud sound at the end of the IPT. This helps your child understand that IPT is over. In the book Babywise II, they recommend the following Independent Play Time Lengths:
- Baby that cannot sit up unassisted: 10-20 minutes twice a day
- Baby that can sit unassisted: 35-30 minutes twice a day
- Baby that can crawl: 30-45 minutes at least once a day
- 15-20 month olds: Up to 60 minutes at least once a day
How many toys should I allow my child to play with?
Currently, I usually put in a variety of toys. Today I allowed my son to have 4 cars, 3 books, 2 light/ music toys, nesting cups, and old yogurt container with colorful balls inside. Don’t put too many toys in their pack ‘n play or in their room. You want them to learn how to focus on one toy at a time. Too many toys is overwhelming and there is also not enough space for them all.
Other things to include during IPT:
I usually play music in the background. My son usually cries the first 1-5 minutes of IPT. I have found that playing music in the background cut down his crying and helps him to play better. I also allow my son to have his nuby straw cup of milk with him in the morning and a cup of water in the afternoon. I do not allow food during this time, but the drink helps him to enjoy himself more. I also give him his security object- his blankie. If you child has a security object, I would allow him/ her to have it during this time.
Important thing to keep in mind:
- Don’t interact with your child during this time. You want your child to play on his own.
- Check on them every so often to make sure they are okay. If you can, try to do this discretely so your child does not see you. When my son sees me he usually gets upset because he thinks I am coming to get him out. My son is much happier if he plays alone without seeing me.
- Vary the locations of IPT. I have done IPT so far in our game room, playroom, and office.
- Don’t over use IPT. Keep it limited to the time allotted. Your child will get frustrated if he has to be in their too long.
Benefits to IPT (quoted from Babywise II p. 73):
- Mental focusing skills: Playpen time helps a child develop the ability to concentrate on an object or activity at hand and not be distracted constantly.
- Sustained attention span: You will observe how your child picks up a toy, manipulates it with his or her hand, examines it carefully, shakes it, and then revisits the process again.
- Creativity: Creativity is the product of boundaries, not freedom. With absolute freedom, this is not need for creative thinking or problem-solving.
- Self-Play adeptness: This is one of the positive signs that your baby is moving from dependence to independence.
- Orderliness: The first step to developing orderliness is to help your child with cleanup times. Start by placing a few books in one corner, a bucket or small toys in another, or stacking other items in a neat pile. Simple statements such as “Let’s put the toys in the basket,” or “Help Mommy clean up,” aid in this process. The object is to leave the area neat, with the child participating in achieving this goal.
The personal benefits of IPT that I have experience and seen in my son:
- It allows me time to shower in the morning and get ready without having my son cling to me or worrying that he is getting into trouble. It also allows me personal time to check email, do laundry, or just read a book.
- My son is better at playing independently now. Before starting IPT, my son was the master of cling. I had a hard time getting much done because he was clinging to me constantly or he was fussy because I want in the same room as him.
- I have noticed that my son is better at playing with a single toy for longer now. He seems more content with the toys I have out for him to play with. Before starting IPT, he would jump from toy to toy rather quickly. He still changes up toys rather frequently, but I would say he is improving.
- If my son does not have his IPT one day, I notice a huge difference in his additude. He is much more likely to be clingy and fussy if he does not start his day with IPT.
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I thought that I would start to write about the baby items that I really love. I wish that someone would have reviewed or told me about some of the items before Cooper was born. So I thought I might be of assistance to you all and write about some must have and neat baby items that will make life easier. I will rate each item by giving it a star rating (out of 5 stars)
Travel Light Crib (Graco) ★★★★★
I love this mini pack ‘n play. It was great for my Cooper for the first 6 months of life. My little guy is now 9 months old and he is a big baby so he has unfortunately out grown his travel light crib. This pack ‘n play is made my Graco and is a lot smaller and easier to transport than an average size pack ‘n play. I needed a portable pack ‘n play that was easy for me to carry on my own, set up, and break down. This travel light crib was so simple that I could carry my son in one arm and the travel light crib in the other. If my son was not so long for his age (95% height), we would still be using this travel light crib. I used it when I would take him to my bible study, friends houses for play dates, or for dinner parties at other people’s homes. I also used this as a bassinet for him to sleep in when he was a new born. I am only sorry that he has out grown it, but I plan on using it again when ever baby #2 arrives!
Where to Buy: I bought my used on Craigslist for $30, but I have seen them retain from $70-120 bucks new depending on the print you choose. I have seen them for sale at Walmart, Target, and Babies R Us. So if you want a new one, check one of those places out!
Star Rating: I gave it 5 stars because it was easy to set up/ break down, light, and my son slept great in it. Works well as a bassinet and portable crib!
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Posted in naps, sleep, sleep environment, Traveling with baby, trouble sleeping, tagged baby, bedroom, fans, infant, naps, night time sleep, nursery, pack 'n play, room darkening, scib sheet, sleep, sleep environment, sleep sac, sound machine, swaddle, traveling on April 27, 2009|
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I am a relatively new mom. My son is 7 months old. For the most part, my son has been a pretty good sleeper. He is a touchy sleeper though and he needs things just right in order to get some sleep. I discovered he needs it very dark to sleep so we invested in some dark drapes to cover the windows. We also live in a condo and the noise from our neighbors wakes him. We invested in a sound machine and that helps to drown out most of the background noise. When my son was under 6 months old, we swaddled him. The swaddling helped him to sleep longer and keep himself from jerking his body awake. At 4.5 months old we would still swaddle him, but leave one arm out. This allowed him to suck on his fingers if he woke up early so he could self-sooth himself back to sleep. Then at 6 months old we transferred him from a swaddle to a sleep sac because he started to roll over and he needed both of his arms so he would not get stuck. We also have a fan in his room to keep it cool one warm days. My son will wake early from a nap if he is too hot or cold. We would just layer him with more clothes in the dead of winter so he would stay warm.
What if you travel?
We have traveled quite a bit with my son and I also have to take him to a friend’s house once a week where he takes one of his naps. It use to be that when he napped any where else other than his room, his naps were terrible. I was lucky if he would nap for 45 minutes. After some advise from some friends, I started to get smart about traveling with my son. First, I take his crib sheet because it has the sent of home on it. I would just place the crib sheet over the pack ‘n play mattress. I brought the sound machine to help drown out the background noise and create a familiar sounding environment for him. I made sure to bring his swaddle or sleep sac along, but I made sure I did not wash it right before we left in order to keep the familiar sent. To darken the room, I brought a large sheet to drape over the window. If the sheet would not drape over the window, I would drape receiving blankets on the four sides of the pack ‘n play to keep some of the light from directly shining on him.
Sleep Sack http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2610669
White Noise/ Sound Machine http://www.amazon.com/Marpac-SleepMate-980A-Electro-Mechanical-Conditioner/dp/B000KUHFGM/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1240856752&sr=8-2
Pack ‘n Play (travel lite crib) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2959499
If you have another suggestions for creating a good sleep environment both at home or when you travel, please leave a comment!
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