Butt Out of Your Tot's Playtime!

Cynthia Dermody
playing with your toddler

Photo by collinsmomma656

I'm leery of parenting advice from so-called "experts," especially those who don't even have kids. But it's still nice when they validate something that I'm already doing. Or in this case, not doing: playing with my kids 24/7.

It's been drilled into our mommy brains that the first three years of life are crucial for brain development. So, moms often feel the pressure to make every minute a "teachable" moment for their tots, by constantly attending tea parties, racing cars across the floor, or running around like a monster in hot pursuit.

A child development authority in the September issue of Baby Talk magazine says contantly playing with your tot is actually not the best idea. It's better that they also learn to imitate you and entertain themselves. I'm relieved, because I always worried that I didn't give my toddlers enough floor time.

This expert, Nancy Close of the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut, explains that children are sponges, naturally curious even without our prompting. Ages 13 to 18 months is actually a really good time to butt out of your toddler's playtime. You can still feel confident that those little synapses are popping and stretching, even as you fold the laundry or wash the dishes.

Don't know about you, but I feel much better.



What portion of your waking hours do you spend "playing" with your toddler?

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Do you agree with the above expert that healthy brain development is not dependant on playing with your toddler all the time, or do you have another opinion?

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