Blanket Time

Smooch reading on her pink blanket
As Smooch is entering into that magical period called Toddlerhood, I'm finding a brand new set of challenges.  One of the gems I got out of "On Becoming Toddlerwise" was the importance of creating and maintaining a schedule for the day, broken up into segments of different activities.  One suggested 'activity' was "Room Time" where your child spends up to 30 minutes or more playing by herself in her room.  They suggested that if this is a new concept for your child, to start with "Blanket Time" for short intervals, like 5 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the interval, then graduate to Room Time.  The concept is simple.  I'm establishing time that Smooch is required to entertain herself, but it also reinforces the skill of sitting still and focusing on one thing, which at 18 months, seems to be nearly an impossibility.  I put her on the blanket with her favourite books, or some fun toys, and set the timer.  I tell her that she must stay on the blanket until Mommy says its time to get up.  And then I leave her alone, and do my best to not interact with her, even so much as making eye contact.
So far, we've had about as many days of success as not so much success.  Sometimes, she does not seem to comprehend the concept of "stay still" and gets up repeatedly, even after I place her back on the blanket.  But little by little, she seems to be getting it.  Because we haven't had a lot of consecutive success yet, we are still working on 5-7 minutes, but I'm confident that she will figure it out soon!  I really love this concept because it frees me up to take care of small tasks that are otherwise impossible with a toddler clinging to my legs, saying "dup, dup, dup" with her hands reaching for me to pick her up.  Like chopping vegetables. Or loading the dishwasher.  Or folding clothes.  Things that require two hands and some degree of concentration.

But I suspect that real success depends on consistency, and our schedule has been less than consistent lately.   So this week, I'm going to actually write up a detailed schedule and post it on the refrigerator.  And do my best to stick with it. Because I want to see her succeed.  And I think I need it as much as Smooch does.

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