Most mornings my boys play together in their room for an hour and a half to two hours. After we have breakfast, I send them back to play and I have one to two blissful hours to get things done.
Now, Griffin and Amos are only four and two. I still get the occasional question or request BUT, for the most part, I can depend on that time to get work done or projects completed around the house.
How do I do it?
The answer is so simple it’s going to shock you.
I turn on music.
That’s it. I turn on our superhero song playlist or Justin Roberts or the audiobooks of The Chronicles of Narnia. Doesn’t much matter what it is. They just need some noise.
Some mornings I forget to turn it on and they never last more than fifteen minutes before slowly drifting out into the living room. It always takes me a second to realize what’s missing. Then, the second I turn it back the happy, independent play resumes.
I’m not sure when I figured it out. I think it was probably born of my paranoia of any television being on in Griffin’s first two years. I always had music on instead.
While I’m still way past my complete screen restriction, I do try to keep the television off most of the day and if it’s on while they are in their rooms, they will inevitably be drawn out by the noise. Like moths to a flame, they just know the television is on.
However, when the rest of the house is quiet and their rooms are filled with music or stories, they will play happily together or independently in the same room. Either way I’m not spending every waking minute keeping them entertained.
Do your children listen to music while playing? If not, give it a try and let me know how it goes!