14 May 2013

Sigh of Relief & Independent Playtime

So last night while I lay awake from midnight - 4am, I did some reading.  When Hazelnut was a baby we followed Baby Wise, mostly, when it came to schedules & such & we loved it!  As with any child-rearing method, we read it, and then applied it with our own child's needs in mind.  Every child is different, and no single book can cover everyone.  But I hadn't read the toddler books in the series.  As Hazelnut is growing & testing limits, throwing fits, etc, we want to make sure that we're responding appropriately to guide her towards learning what is or isn't acceptable and everything that comes along with that.

At any rate, I went to a website of a woman who writes a ton of information on it & read up about Hazel's age group.

Most of the stuff we're actually already doing, which is cool.  I'd been feeling like this age is a transition more than anything, and that's pretty much what she wrote about.  Transitioning from foods prepared just for baby to eating what everyone else eats, starting to spoon feed herself, starting to say words.  She talked about expecting unpredictable behavior, expecting your child to test her limits, beginning to teach acceptable behaviors, picking & choosing your battles, and not freaking out if your child isn't hungry during a meal or doesn't like a certain food.

Honestly, it was a sigh of relief at 3am.  I've been a very worn out momma lately & felt like I wasn't doing a good job.  Sure, my kid is alive, fed, and generally happy, but there's a lot more to life that just getting through it.  We worked very hard when Hazelnut was a baby to figure out a schedule that worked best for her-- one where she would sleep well, eat well, and be happy during her awake time.  I loved knowing that she was getting enough rest & was enjoying her little life.  And as silly as it sounds, I was scared that we were throwing all of that out the window & were starting to raise a little hellion.  I mean, the girl can throw a fit if she wants to.  It's still pretty cute right now, but I know the cuteness factor in her fits is about to go away!  So it was nice to read that I wasn't throwing it all away-- that the things we had been doing because it seemed logical, were the same things that other parents had done & had worked well for them in the future.

The one thing I hadn't been specific about was what is called independent playtime.  It's a period of time each day that the child plays on her own.  For this age (16 months) they suggest setting it up in a baby-proofed room where the child can't see the parent.  I'm not particularly keen on that, but Hazel plays pretty well on her own, so we tried it in the living room while I got some work done in the same room.  They suggest working up to an hour of independent play per day.  With the exception of changing her dirty diaper & reading a book she brought to me, she's been playing for an hour by herself!  I'm sure a lot of it has to do with her being an only child, but it's so fun to watch her out of the corner of my eye.  She's testing her own limits, practicing balance (albeit, by standing on her rocking chair), and figuring out new ways to play with toys.

And?  I don't feel so guilty about getting things done.  I was starting to get into a cycle of guilt because I wasn't playing with her every waking hour.  Truth is, she does need me to play with her.  But she also enjoys playing by herself as well.  Exploring within her own limits.  She has a wonderful natural independence about her & I want to encourage that.  She definitely gets it from her daddy, and I love that about him!

I'm also thinking that this extra time will be great to get into some more parenting books.  One friend who I admire for her parenting skills & well behaved children suggested "Growing Kids Gods Way" so I'm definitely going to check that out, too!

Any other books that you've felt were very helpful starting in the toddler years?

1 comment:

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