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Thread: Unsupervised play for preschoolers

  1. #1

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    Default Unsupervised play for preschoolers

    How much time do your toddler or preschooler get for unsupervised or semi supervised play?

    How much time inside, outside, and with siblings?

  2. #2

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    My girls play a lot together in their toy room or DD1 room without me watching them. I would say close to four or five hours a day at the moment while DS is still so litthe and takes up a lot of my time. Majority of the time I can hear them but not see them. Outside is another story. We live on 30 acres so I don't feelcomfortable with them outside were I can't see them.

  3. #3

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    I think it depends on the type of house and type of child.

    We were happy for DD1 to go for her life inside and outside whenever she wanted in our old house. She was very content playing by herself and would do so from an early age.

    She's now 4 and we've moved house and it's actually harder. Bigger house so I can't really hear her. I'm happy for her to play unsupervised in her room but when she's in other areas of the house, I do keep a closer eye on her. She doesn't go outside unless an adult is with her, we're on acreage here too with only cattle fencing that she can climb through and there's a dam and a pond. I think she misses her freedom.

  4. #4

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    My DD1 is allowed to play outside alone whenever (downstairs, fenced yard, very limited vision from inside) and does at least once a day. She is around 4 and a half but started when she could reliably get back inside for toileting so late 3ish. Usually just plays in the sandpit or chalks our driveway. Never had an issue. I'm only comfortable leaving DD2 (18mo) downstairs very briefly, say to use the toilet or grab something upstairs with her sister ready to alert me to troubles. She's a climber and it could get bad quick due to her age.

    My girls play together upstairs with limited to no supervision while I do dishes or other assorted jobs in different rooms. The only rooms they can get to, they can use (toy room, clean art room, book room) so they can't get up to much mischief. DD2 is the rougher one but DD1 has restraint and being faster can escape easily so they never have any real dramas.

    Definitely think it is good to give kids some freedom and independence when appropriate to develop responsibility and self regulation, plus problem solving and conflict resolution between siblings. As well as unstructured play for working that imagination and exploring their personal creativity!

    As for an amount of time, I'd say for DD1 about 30-50% of her time is unsupervised depending on the day. DD2 around 15-30%.

  5. #5

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    DD is nearly 3 and spends at least 2-2.5 hours a day playing by herself while I am settling DS to sleep during the day (usually 4 to 5 x up to 30 mins). I always make sure she has a snack, water bottle, and she knows where I am. Oh and I deadlock the doors so she can't escape outside!
    Outside play - not really happening much due to weather at the moment but as it gets out of winter into spring I think she'll spend more time outside, and some of that will be alone.

  6. #6

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    My boys have very little. My oldest is pretty rough so it ends in tears as the youngest isn't thrilled with it. I try to leave them to it but the youngest ends up coming and looking for salvation.

    At times they've been able to play for 30 mins or so without incident outside.

    Also, my oldest gets pretty anxious so doesn't really like to be without an adult. Says he gets scared so never plays in his room or out the back alone.

    It's something that is an ongoing project.

  7. #7

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    Our flat is so little I can see them most places so I suppose that is supervised. I can see if out on balcony too. I would say has only been the last six months they have been ok on their own together without lots of intervention as DS was a bit little - now he can follow instructions DD and him play ok. Sometimes they play separately sometimes together but never far apart due to space constraints.

  8. #8

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    Gosh, I don't know that I could give a figure. Ummm a lot.
    DS has a superb imagination and loves to play outside with his trucks or rides his bikes. Often the big and the little girl are out there with him. I have big back windows and a kids safe yard that is fully fenced. Weather here isn't an issue unless it's a million degrees but even then they seem to stick to covered areas.

    I generally loosely direct (find supplies/games/toys, instruct, help if they need or ask) if they are after something to do. I don't play with them often. They set up something and play near where I am occasionally but they're all pretty independent here. I play most with them outside.

  9. #9

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    DD2 (18 mths) spends a lot of time playing independently outside. She has complete access to the back yard as long as it's not raining and I keep an eye on her, but until she comes to get me I leave her to it. Mostly she wanders around picking leaves and grass to feed the bunnies and 'talking' to herself. Lol When DD1 is home (7) they both go out the front yard until I call them in, pretty much. If it's raining, they disappear upstairs to play together. It's wonderful that even though they're such different ages they still play together. <3

  10. #10

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    Woah, lucky people!

    DS flat out refuses to be anywhere he can't see me, and 90% of the time is within 1.5m. If I am really lucky I can go from the kitchen to the play area and straight back (about 3m of open space separated by a half wall) without him following. About once a fortnight he will surprise me and leave the room to get something, but comes straight back, always running. If I take the bins out, he follows. If I hang washing, he follows. I go to the loo, he watches. I'm in the kitchen, so is he.... You get the drift

    The only exception is when I have a shower he sits on my bed and plays the iPad. It buys me my only 15 mins of peace and quiet! So, I suppose this is his only unsupervised play. I can hear him though.

    DS is 3.

  11. #11

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    DS plays solo probably 2-4 hours over the course of a day if we are home all day. We have a playroom off the kitchen so I can hear him even if I cant see him, and he can wander outside and play if he wants too as its all fenced in and safe - tends not to in this weather, but is outside often in spring/summer/autumn in the sandpit or trampoline etc
    DD now joins DS in the playroom, I do a quick check to make sure there are no little edible toys out and let them play unsupervised, but poke my head in periodically. If I am in the lounge, busy in the kitchen or anywhere else in the house for that matter I can hear them and DS at 4 is very good at bringing my attention to anything DD is doing that he considers naughty (hehehehehe, he wants to be a Daddy when he grows up).

  12. #12

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    Moo is 4 next month and probably spends half his time playing unsupervised, we don't have a very big house so I can always hear him. He is very into his trains as well as his trucks, his imagination is just growing by the day so he makes up big stories with his toys with lots of detail. So he is very content to do that. When his little brother is asleep (about 3 hours per day) he tends to hang around me, wants to do 'something special' at this time most days so that is when we'll read or get out puzzles or something not suitable for 19 month olds.



    I never let him outside unsupervised lately because we have a puppy. She is a whippet and is still learning not to jump etc so he wouldn't be comfortable alone with her either. Before we got our puppy I was very happy to let him loose out the back and he spent a great deal of time playing outside. Now I take a cuppa out there and distract the puppy

    Buster is 19 months old and you cannot pin him down to play He is very busy pottering around the house and isn't interested in sitting down with toys. So it's hard for them to play together at this stage. Plus it always ends in tears so I usually have an eye on them!

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