Separate Playtimes

Although they used to play happily together (sometimes for up to an hour without intervention), it seems to me that Catherine and Camille have been less friendly with each other lately. One of the challenges of having the two so close in age, is that developmentally they can still be so far away.

Catherine now wants to actually PLAY with toys... setting up blocks to make roads, lining up all her Little People for example. And Camille just wants to make blocks and little people go in a hundred different directions.

Nothing wrong with either one girls' developemental levels... both are exploring and playing in their own way. They are just different levels, but both seem to be clashing with the other at the moment. So how does a mama protect child #1, but also allow for child #2's natural curiosity?

One big help has been to give them separate playtimes each day.

Playtimes have been big in our house since Catherine was crawling. She would have time alone in her crib with a few toys to play with. When Camille was born and old enough, we'd put her in the "Johnny Jump Up" to bounce around in the doorway to Catherine's room while Catherine spent time in her crib. Camille could watch Catherine play, and Catherine seemed to enjoy the company.

As the girls grew, playtime changed to a degree. When Camille got too old for the "Johnny", we put her in the crib with Catherine. They did great playing together in a safe environment. When Camille developed her fascination with hair - and Catherine's is especially beautiful, all ringlety and shiny - and started to lovingly pull it (!), we gave them both some more shared space and put them to play in the nursery (Catherine and Camille's room). This was wonderful until November, when Jack was born.

I don't think it was BECAUSE Jack was born, but because both girls had developed to this point mentioned above. We realized that Catherine needed some time each day alone, to set up toys, to play, to read, to draw with crayons. She has loved having this time alone; Camille prefers to be with Catherine, but has learned to have time to play and read alone. We set up Catherine in the sunroom while Camille stays in the more child-safe nursery for now.

Catherine has earned a little more freedom to exit and return to her playtime if she needs to use the washroom.

I try to spend some time with each girl at the beginning or end of their playtimes to set them up or to join in whatever they've been doing. It's given me some one-on-one time with the kids which we all seem to like.

We give them 30 minutes to 1 hour alone in their playtimes each day. For us right now, playtimes usually come after breakfast. This is helpful for me as a wife, as a mama, and as a homemaker to do things without having to think about the kids for a block of (mostly) unbroken time.

Playtimes have been great, by the way, to give Erik and me a block of (mostly) quiet time together. It makes for an instant date time when we need one.

No comments:

Post a Comment