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How much time to allow for independent play?

Posted by on Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:54 PM
  • 7 Replies

Generally, I feel like independent play is healthy for toddlers. However, having a child with autism (age 2 1/2) who is highly willing to play alone, I wonder "how much is too much?". I feel guilty when I allow him to play alone, but on the other hand, he's mostly engaging in educational activities and apps. I mean, he's happily teaching himself how to read. Is that something that I really want to interrupt? I just don't really know where to draw the line here. It's not that he isn't willing to engage with me, it's just that he has "better things to do", and those things are GOOD things. I've tried to teach him myself, since learning seems to be where his interest is at, but he really just wants to figure it all out for himself (and he's successfully doing so). How do I decide how much is too much? Is there ever "too much" when it comes to academics? 

Any thoughts? Thanks! 

by on Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:54 PM
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Replies (1-7):
by on Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:56 PM
I wonder the same!! Bump!
by on Jan. 8, 2014 at 4:42 PM

I personally loved when any of my kids played independently.  What I do is throughout the day I play with whatever it is that he is doing for a little while.  As long as he's not playing independently all day long I don't see a problem.

by Nicole on Jan. 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM
I agree with jorjorsmom. I just include myself in what he is playing with if he is doing a lot of independent play at times during the day. Maybe to show him a different way to play with the item or a new game on the electronics since he gets stuck on one way. But other than that I don't see the problem with independent play.
by Darby on Jan. 9, 2014 at 7:11 AM

My son does a lot of independent play.  We are on the go 24/7 during the week, and I like to make sure he has plenty of down time at home.  When we are at home, he eats every 2-3 hours, has g-tube feeds, meds, and chest therapy treatments.  So, he is required to do a LOT for an Autistic 5 year old.  

by Platinum Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 7:51 AM

I think solitary play is ok.., and sure, who wants to interrupt a fun learning experience.. I would think as long as he is "coming out of that world" easily and refreshed it would be fine. 

I dont know how many hourS you are talkng about, BUT I have read that less the 2 hours for apps and computer stuff a day is whats recommended. i think thats plenty (depending on the situation of the day).. I think maybe working with him to play for a bit, do a fun activity together, meet the demands of the day (whatever therapy) then a little bit more.. 

I guess what im saying is moderation is key and you need to find what works for you... There are days Sam will play with the computer for an hour before school... And then read ALL afternoon and not turn on an electronic... Then there are days he will beg me to play with the computer again after school for an hour.,, and then ask for another hour after dinner..somedays I can be flexible, some days, NOT so much.., lol

by Platinum Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM

When it comes to academics I let my son go until the IPAD dies LOL. He will engage in play with his sister when he wants to. He takes her by the hand and says "come on" I think it depends on the child. Can you interrupt and the child be okay? Or does the child get angry? My son has his moments when both occur so I think for me it's a situational thing

by Gold Member on Jan. 9, 2014 at 2:16 PM

You could also have in  public preschool where he can get used to other kids his age.  Before my son went to preschool I was his teacher in what he is learning.  I used flash cards, activity books, colored, write with with my son when he was a toddler.  


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