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How much is too much "Free Play" with young children?

I'm a firm believer of "free play" for my children. My oldest is 3.5 and the youngest is 21 months. How long is too long for to play by themselves? When should I involve myself with their play or introduce new things to them. I have been letting them play 2-4 hrs during the mornings before nap. Of course, if they need me for something I play or do what it is. I would like some good feedback on this.

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ChildGoddess

Asked by ChildGoddess at 6:31 PM on Mar. 5, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 9 (311 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • I let them play as long as they want by themselves. My son prefers to play by himself and sometimes gets annoyed when I come and play with him. They'll come to me when they want to interact with me. That's when I'll count with them, say the ABC's, and so on. I don't dictate when their "Free play" is up, because they always tell me when they want my attention.
    JazzlikeMraz

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 6:38 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • I think you are doing great....I'm a big believer in free play also. And I think that as long as you follow your instincts you will do just fine....how much depends on your child....as your children grow and you get to know each other, you'll figure it out together...
    Anna92464

    Answer by Anna92464 at 6:40 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • My boys play pretty much all morning together. I have in-home daycare so we take time to do circle time and a project . Other than that they like to go to their room and play away from the little girls. My boys are 3 and 4 and I watch two little girls that are about to turn 2 and have a 1 1/2 year old dd. When they have free play that is definitely when are most imaginative it seems. I love listening to them play.
    JamieLK

    Answer by JamieLK at 6:44 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • When they want me, they tell me.  Mostly they like playing together.  As long as they are behaving and not getting out of control, I see no harm in them playing together all day.

    MrsHouston47302

    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 7:12 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • If they are happy playing alone then leave them be. My kids come to me when they want attention and I don't play with them. It's their job to entertain themselves. If they want attention we chat or watch a movie/tv show together but I don't normally play with them. If I do it's coloring or puzzles....things I like, too. For the most part my kids are playing on their own just like when I was a kid. My 4yo is in her room with a friend. My 8yo and 9yo kids are outside playing with friends. The 7mo is crawling around the house exploring and getting into stuff and my 10yo is having dinner while watching a TV show with me.
    justanotherjen

    Answer by justanotherjen at 8:15 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • My little girl likes to play on her own a lot but I enjoy spending time playing with her too. The thing is about two year olds is that you never want to give them to much time to themselves because they will more then likely be planning to blow up the house.
    Razzle_Dazzle1

    Answer by Razzle_Dazzle1 at 5:08 AM on Mar. 6, 2011

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