How much time a day do you spend with your child?

M. Rose - posted on 04/05/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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I know this is a crazy thing to ask but I just would like to know for children preschool and younger, how much time do you think a mom should be actively engaged with the child?



I am having a hard time knowing just how much I should be sitting with, talking to, singing to, playing with my son. He is needy and I feel like I spend almost all day with him and getting things done go out the window. I'm with him so much that when I am doing something else for even 5 minutes I feel like I'm neglecting him or that I should check on him. (although it is rare he'll go too much longer than 5 minutes doing something by himself UNLESS it's mischief, leading me again to want to check on him regularly) Even when my husband is home, we are constantly interrupted and have to tell our son like 5x's in 15-20min that we are talking and to find something to do.



Is this normal? If not, how do I cut it off?

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[deleted account]

When J was that age, I utilized a kitchen timer to teach him to be more independent.

I showered and dressed before he woke, he usually wasn't up until between 5:45-6:15 each morning, so If I set my alarm for 5am, I had plenty of time for that stuff.

During the day, I would set the timer for 10-15 minutes, and play with him. When it rung, I would set it again and let him play on his own. My house is rather open, and I can see him from almost any room (except our bedroom and his), so I could keep an eye on him while I tended to other chores, without actually interacting with him. If he came to me before the bell, I simply said "when the bell rings" and he would go play again. (When we started this, I used shorter time limits--starting with 3 minutes, then gradually increasing the time).

I also found that if I gave him 100% of my attention, rather than trying to pay attention to him while focusing on another task, he was less needy when I was not focused on him.

Louise - posted on 04/06/2011

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hi rose,have you tried getting him to draw a picture while you do your chores.I used to say to my older ones draw mummy a picture while i clean and i will look when i finish.When i clean i just do it when i get back from the school run,I put my 11 month old in his walker and my 2 year old is happy to play in the play room.There are locks on my pantry and front room door so she carnt get where she shouldnt be going and i can hear her.Maybe you have constantly picked your little boy up when he was a baby and that is why he depends on you so much.Im not being nasty when i emply this but i did this with my 1st child cause he got meningitis at 4 months and i was scared to leave him alone for along time.I then suffered cause he got used to it and wouldnt let me have a minute to myself.It is a difficult age but you will just have to keep leaving him for 5 mins or so, he will realize that your only upstairs and the more you do it he will get used to it.obviously make sure he carnt reach knives,scissors,cookers,or anything he could harm himself on.I suppose with me having a big family i start strict routine from day one.I dont have to lie with my kids to get them to sleep,if they fall i just say oh dear your fine, If they tantrum i walk away (2 mins later there smiling again.So just keep your chin up it will be fine

Michelle - posted on 04/06/2011

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My son will be 3 in June and I had a hard time with this topic as well. He was very needy to the point where I couldn't go to the bathroom without him freaking out! I realized that it was not healthy. We started getting involved with playgroups and going to the park so that he could have a little distance from me (obviously not a lot at the park but even going on the slide by himself was good). Over time he has learned to play very well by himself and sometimes if I have a lot to do and I am not with him much in a day I will feel very guilty and go in and just play with him! It also helps us a lot to have a routine where we wake up and play for an hour, we usually do the calendar and alphabet in this time as well then I get to do some work for an hour then we will play again if he wants to but if he is doing well playing by himself I will continue to work. You just have to find the balance that is right for you! Good Luck

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[deleted account]

I have my daughter help me around the house. She's only 16 months old, so most of that help isn't really helpful; but she enjoys it and it keeps her out of trouble. Often times I sit in her room reading while she is playing. If she wants me to join in than she'll ask.

Lately we've been moving so things aren't very normal. She spends a lot of time being hauled between the apartments.

[deleted account]

You shouldnt feel guilty about having time for yourself.. SAHMs spend 24 hours a day with their kids! I spend what it seems to me ALL day with my kids! what we did was put in a TV (i know horrible) in his room.. that way if i need an hour to do something around the house or have a conversation i can just turn on a movie! Also i try to buy toys that will entertain him for hours! mine loves toy cars, he has hundreds!

Amy - posted on 04/07/2011

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before i started work i spent all day with her but now its a few hours a day but on my days off all day

Emily - posted on 04/06/2011

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I have 4 little kiddos (5, 4, 2, and 10 months), and they're really independent. We definitely spend a lot of time together, because I'm a SAHM, but they play by themselves as well. More than trying TO spend time with them, they know when I need space: when cooking supper, putting makeup on, taking a shower, etc. One thing I do to make sure I have time alone is establish a fairly early bedtime (between 7 - 8). I need some quiet time.
A play group or regular play date is a good idea too. If you don't have many friends with kids your child's age, you can try visiting the local library story time or children's museum, or even the park and see who your kid clicks with!

Stephanie - posted on 04/06/2011

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my daughter is 21 months and I am home with her everyday, all day! My husband works 10 hours a day so she spends a lot of time with me and 4.5 hours awake home with her daddy and I!

[deleted account]

It really depends on the age of your child, how many children you have and how you want to handle it. From what you have mentioned it sounds like he needs a playgroup to interact with other children. Also, you decide the boundaries. You can spend hours with a child and it may not be enough so you set a boundary otherwise they take over in an unhealthy way even as adults. Usually a sibling takes care of spending too much time with the first child. I felt I was the only entertainment my son had when he was two, so I joined a moms group and a gym. He had lots of other kids to play with and I was able to put some space in between so I could breathe.

Donna - posted on 04/06/2011

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I spend 10 mins an hour actively playing, but the rest of the time I get on and do things, and try to involve them even if it is by chatting or singing while I do it.
I do however ensure my 3 year ld watches TV or plays quietly on his own for an hour to allow me to have a few mins of me time (posting on here or reading) and to do more involved chores and phone calls whhere I cannot be interrupted. This always ties in with the baby's nap time.
This has gotten easier with each child as they are less demanding each time, simply because I have less time so they amuse themselves better out of necesity.
If you feel he needs to be more indepentent , then he does, and try some of the suggestions others have given. There is no right way, just the right way for you and your family.....I am sure you will look back on this and chuckle very soon :-)

Louise - posted on 04/06/2011

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hey there is no right way is there of bringing up a child all you can do is your best and im sure your doing just that.If ever you need a chat or advice or anything.Im no expert but having 6 kids i think ive been through just about everything going lol.Good luck xx

M. Rose - posted on 04/06/2011

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thanks for saying you aren't being nasty lol... I figured you weren't. I think I did a lot of wrong things with my 1st child and it will continue. I don't have anyone to ask, not really, and I didn't grow up in a big fam, nor have I spent much time with babies or little kids. So yea... I'm sure I held him too much. I will employ the few minutes more minutes apart thing too. THank you so much!!

M. Rose - posted on 04/05/2011

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that actually sounds like a good idea. Maybe I'll employ that to some extent.

M. Rose - posted on 04/05/2011

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My oldest (the one I'm talking about) is 2. And yes I do let him "help" with a lot of stuff. But some things he can't help with like cleaning the toilet and tub... then I need time to do things like dress, shower BEFORE the hub gets home, sometimes I just want a few minutes to think, plan or do a business phone call. I don't know. Maybe I just don't like being mom 24/7, that's most likely the problem and I don't know how to deal with someone being with me ALL the time.

Louise - posted on 04/05/2011

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you dont state how old your child is,but there is no right amount of time to spend with your child.Some children are happy playing alone and some children arnt.You need a balance that is right for you.Yes you need to interact with your son but you also nead time to do your things,You could have your son helping you do house work( pretend hes helping)by giving him a damp cloth and have him follow you around wiping window sills just so he thinks hes helping while you do your chores.Kids love to help out mum it makes them happy and they love the praise they get to.As for the interupting you thats just something kids do ,You need to say when we have finished talking i will speak to you you must wait when you see us talking.He will get used to that.Hey i know to well as i have 6 kids what its like to be interupted.

Louise - posted on 04/05/2011

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you dont state how old your child is,but there is no right amount of time to spend with your child.Some children are happy playing alone and some children arnt.You need a balance that is right for you.Yes you need to interact with your son but you also nead time to do your things,You could have your son helping you do house work( pretend hes helping)by giving him a damp cloth and have him follow you around wiping window sills just so he thinks hes helping while you do your chores.Kids love to help out mum it makes them happy and they love the praise they get to.As for the interupting you thats just something kids do ,You need to say when we have finished talking i will speak to you you must wait when you see us talking.He will get used to that.Hey i know to well as i have 6 kids what its like to be interupted.

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