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I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Blanket Time

There is a teeny tiny section in On Becoming Toddlerwise about blanket time. It's so tiny, I missed it the first time I read the book and it's not even in the index! But I think it's a pretty cool activity and I just started it with Will. The purpose of blanket time is to begin teaching young children (toddlers) limits and boundaries. (I can't think of a toddler who doesn't need those!!!) I think it also helps with their focusing skills. Toddlerwise recommends starting between 14-18 months.

Here's how it works: Begin by putting a blanket (approx. 4 feet by 4 feet) on the floor with a few toys on it. Tell your toddler that he can play with his toys, but he needs to stay on the blanket until you say it's OK to get up. Set a timer. Ideally, it would be nice for your toddler to be able to sit and entertain himself for 20 minutes at a time, but be realistic when you first start. ONE minute might be a challenge! I started Will at 3 minutes. When/If your toddler tries to get off the blanket, simply tell him to stay on the blanket and gently move him back on. When he's on the blanket, you should be nearby, but should not be playing directly WITH him. When the timer goes off, praise them and move on.

Toddlerwise recommends blanket time should be done 2-3 times per day. Increase the amount of time as your toddler can handle it. For instance if he's doing great with 3 minutes, increase it to 5, then 10, etc until you work up to your desired time. I'm working toward 15-20 minutes. I think that is realistic for a 15 month old.

I have to tell you, when I first read about this "blanket time" thing I thought it was a total crock. Making MY SON--the little guy who's always ON THE GO--sit still and play by himself on the blanket??!! Yeah right! But I have been amazed so far. We just started 4 days ago (with 3 minutes) and he's worked up to about 12 minutes...which I think is really good...for him!

Here's a summary of what we did:

Day 1 (goal: 3 minutes)
- Put him on the blanket, told him the "rules" and set the timer for 3 minutes. After 10 seconds he was off! Put him back on, stayed for about 30 seconds and was off again! I put him back on, he moaned and groaned and stayed until the timer went off. He was not happy.

Day 2 (goal: 3 minutes)
- Put him on the blanket, told him the "rules," set the timer. He stayed for 3 minutes playing happily.

Day 3 (goal: 5 minutes)
- I think he "gets it now." I said "blanket time" and put down the blanket and he went right over and started playing. My goal was 5 minutes but he stayed on for 7. Woo hoo!

Day 4 (goal: 7 minutes)
- The goal was 7, but he actually stayed on the blanket for 12 minutes playing with blocks, a coffee can and his mini piano. I had to redirect him because he wanted to get off the first 3-4 minutes. The cool thing was that he would get up, point to the edge of the blanket and say "Aye?" as if to ask, "Can I leave now?" It was so cute!! He did this 4 times and each time, he "asked" if he could leave. I just said "No, not yet, honey" and redirected him to a toy. He was fine with this. This shows me that he's really starting to understand his boundaries. All 4 days, I have been sitting near him and talking to him a little but not playing DIRECTLY with him. I might start moving farther away next time.

Depending on your child, blanket time may be fairly easy or very challenging. The more challenging it is, I think, shows how blanket time can be that much more beneficial to you both. Things blanket time promotes: 1) Limits/Boundaries 2) Self Control 3) Obeying parents 4) Independent play.

We'll see how things go when I move up to 15 minutes! Should be interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Do you still do blanket time? I'm thinking about starting it with my 14 month old.