21 Answers

I have a baby safe playroom with toys & books in there, but would like to let her play & totter around on her own for maybe 15 mins. I’m nervous but I think it will help with her independence during playtime? Am I asking too much of her at nearly 3? Only because she always waits to play until someone else joins in to help her. I want to see what she chooses to do & how she plays on her own.

Posted by claret77, 17th February 2014

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  • Really depends on the child and what type of home you have.Some of the places we have lived in were not safe to play in and so outdoor play it was but with mum keeping an eye and ear out for any problems. My last lot were twins , so they could get up to some mischief by themselves. Lucky we had a room they could be let loose in and have no problems.. Was an older mum by them so not as quick.

  • Totally depends on your child and your house.
    I have a 5yr old with Down syndrome, functioning on the level of a 2yr old and also rather small in size (92cm or so). She is a bit of a dare devil and I don’t let her freely room through the house. She goes for example in the room of the other kids and totally turns them up side down, she may decide to run the bath and step in bath with clothes and shoes on, she may decide to climb on the bunkbed and jump from the top. She stood on the bed, opened the window and totally ripped the fly screen apart and I feared she would try to climb out of the window (we live in a 2 story house). So no, I don’t let my youngest freely play through the house. She can play downstairs. Upstairs and outside under supervision.

  • If you are concerned about stairs and other unsafe spots put safety gates in. Your pool area should be secured anyway. By the age of 2 toddlers I know have all learnt to play by themselves. It’s fine to be in the same room some of the time – and play with them for short times- but otherwise they have to learn to amuse themselves. Make some areas child safe and close the doors of some rooms you don’t want them to go in. Keep your toilet door shut unless she is getting the idea of using the toilet, and the bathroom in case she decides to try to climb into the bath alone; also the laundry unless there is no cupboards she can open and can’t reach cleaning gear at all.

  • It’s important they learn these skills. I’m always nearby but my kids get free reign of the house. I don’t spend every minute playing with them.

  • My little one has free roam of the house too, I’m never far behind but she potters around all day playing with her books and toys I do get down and play with her but she can happily play on her own.

  • She should be able to play on her own now. My son has been allowed to roam the whole house from when he started moving around. Just make sure the house is child friendly!

  • I would let her go but keeping checking on her.

  • she should be playing alone now she will be safe if you make a play room or in her room :)

  • Thanks guys, I’m not overly clingy…i hope. Our home is quite large with floating hallways & modern glass stairs & An indoor pool, so I decided a nice room for the kids would be safest is all. Thank you for all the advice & you all had great ideas, thanks again girls.

  • I have never had my children in a “play safe room”. They have been able to roam and play around the house (inside and out) as soon as they could move. Child locks are available for just about everything! Cupboards, doors, ovens, covers for sharp corners on tables etc. Ensure that all breakables are up safe and that all chemicals are up safe and locked away. Sure my kids have cried because they have fallen over, scrapped there knees and bumped their heads, but its teaching them that they can still get up, kiss, cuddle and they are ok, go back and play. Kids are bubble wrapped too much these days!

  • As long as there is nothing that can harm her and she knows you are around, why not let her go! Its good for them to explore and learn for themself, but know you are always there too,

  • If she is happy playing on her own in a safe area then by all means let her, just remember that they develop clingy stages at various ages so it may not last!

  • My little man was playing on his own from about 18 months, and he loved it. We baby-proofed our house quite well, and we’d leave him with plenty of toys to play with. He loved his own play time, and still enjoys playing by himself now at 3 years old. We don’t have a designated toy / play room, but the way the couch is set up in our open plan living/dining/kitchen area meant that he was in a “zoned off” area on a rug. He’d spill out his toys from the buckets to his heart’s content, and play with whatever he wanted to. It meant I could cook dinner, do laundry, go to the toilet, make the beds, and sometimes even have a quick shower while he played happily by himself.

    If you’re worried, then, as another mum suggested, take some chores with you into the room where your little one is – such as folding the laundry, etc. Do this for a week, and then the following week, see if you can leave her in the room by herself for 5 minutes at a time. And stretch it out as you’re more comfortable with leaving her on her own.

    Whatever you decide, it will be the right thing at the right time. Good luck!

  • All of my kids had alone play time but I was always close by and within ear shot and if everything goes quiet its time to poke your head around the corner and see whats going on.

  • Just go in and check her every 10 mins or so she will be fine.

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