Playing by himself

LO is 16 months and smart enough to know how to play with his toys but he doesn't go more than 15-20 min at best. Im SAHM so he's used to me being around all the time and expects me to sit and play with him. He gets cranky especially if i sit down for a snack or some phone time, not even 10 min. He is totally fine if he has company! I'm ok if this is normal for the age but want to know if there is something I should do.

  • 2Boys&aDog
    Feb 25

    Typical behavior! They want human interaction always and realize that their toys do not provide that. My best advice would be to tell him “time for mommy to have a break” when you want to sit and eat. He will probably whine and you will just have to be firm that you’re doing what you want to do at that moment. As far as the phone, you can approach it the same way. Although I don’t know if I could stand the whining in my ear while I’m trying to talk. This is why I don’t talk on the phone while my littles are around, can’t have a meaningful conversation!

  • PK
    Feb 25

    Look up @busytoddler on Instagram. There are a couple activities that I have on hand that I set aside and when I need an extra 10 min to do something I’ll quickly pull it out and let him go for it. Our favorite one is the “card drop.” You get a container and cut a slit at the top. Get a pack of cards and just let him drop the cards through the slit. Works on his fine motor skills. There’s different variations of that same activity.. like with a Pom Pom. Or I’ll play some music (he is really into Disney songs because we have seen a couple Disney movies) and so he will dance and sing with it for a good 10-15 min straight before he comes for me to dance and sing with him. But yeah.. totally normal to have a short attention span before they need some direction on a new activity. During the summer months it’s a little easier for us because we have a water table and I just sit out on a chair and he’s at that table for at least 30 min straight.

  • Rebecca
    Feb 25

    Try looking at the book toddler wise. It has a lot of good suggestions. I started some one of which is room time in the morning. My little has it every day and will now play in there for a hour if I need it that long. Took some getting used to in her part. I did lots of things to get it started like first playing in there with her and gate up. Then just sitting and not participating and also leaving for short periods. I see so much creativity coming from her now. Her room is baby safe with some but not to many toys. Less is better. Check out the book. And the reason I have less toys is because I do rotate toys which is so helpful.

  • Sara
    Feb 27

    This is normal but some tips for getting some more solo play in (so you can get a break!) 1) Open ended toys are better than things you master once. For example, play doh, legos, blocks, trains, magnatiles are all good because your child can be creative. Something like an easy puzzle where you master it and then are bored are not as good for encouraging solo play. 2) New environment. When I bring my kids to the play space near our house, they can play alone FOREVER but when it's our house with the same toys they get bored faster. 3) Toy rotation / non-toys. To the above point, I like to rotate out toys so it feels new and interesting. A toy they haven't seen in a few months can buy me a good 15 minutes :-) Or even better especially for my little one is a non-toy. If I put out like pots and pans or some random object she's way more entertained than an actual toy.

  • Katie
    Feb 28

    Totally normal attention span!!!! Anything more than 5-7 min is above normal!

  • Nana
    Feb 28

    If you are getting 20 minutes that is pretty good for his age. Highchair time with crayons or play dough or fruit loop in a spaghetti stick anchored by cheese can teach him to stick with something. Playing in his crib for a time after he wakes up will help him to be little more independent. Get on the floor and teach him how to play, it is all New to him.

  • Val
    Feb 28

    I recently made my little girl (2.5) a sensory bin with rice and scoops, etc. Your LO may be too little for the rice but look up Sensory Bins and I bet you could find something he would like. I was amazed as my LO played with the bin for over 30 minutes and was so content. Oh, I got most of the stuff at the Dollar Tree so that’s a plus as well!