Why my children have to play alone

When Oldest Son (3) was a baby we discovered that he was easily overstimulated by people and needed to have some time each day where he had only inanimate objects to interact with (and only a few of those). I instituted “crib-time” in the morning and afternoon. Forty-five minutes or so of time in his crib, with a few (four or five) appropriate toys and no human interaction. I kept an ear on him or would occasionally peek in to check on him but that was it. We quickly discovered that giving him some additional “crib-time” was often the key to having a happy baby when we had a lot of company or a day in which we went out and interacted with a lot of people.

Daughter (2) had the opposite problem. Even as a tiny baby she was happiest with lots of people to interact with and completely unable to remain happy without some human interaction every five minutes or so. So we started “crib-time” for her too. The object was different-learning to be alone- but the method was the same and she has benefited by it. Second Son also has “crib-time” to learn to be alone. Right now (7.5 months) he lasts about ten minutes before he starts to fuss, but we’ll keep working on it.

The older two are no longer confined to their beds during this time– one plays in the living room and the other in their bedroom. Second Son is usually napping downstairs during this time. They are not supposed to come out of their rooms, or talk to me or each other, but that is still something we’re training on….

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