I didn't really know which board it would be best to post this on, so please forgive me if this is in the wrong place. My 8 month old son is at the point where he can sit up, crawl, and pull himself up using furniture as support. He loves to play and is generally a pretty happy baby, but as soon as I try to leave him alone to do something else (like make dinner or fold laundry) he starts to fuss. I don't know if it's because I've done a bad job and have conditioned him to think that every time he whines I'll come running, but it has been pretty miserable when we're at home together and all I can do is sit in the room with him while he plays. I want him to learn that he can be independent even if it's only for a few minutes. I have set up a gated-off area right outside my kitchen that is completely baby-safe where he can play while I work in the kitchen or put in a load of laundry, but he hates it. He cries every time I put him down in it.
SO, all that to say - I need tips! What did you do when your baby was at the age where they wanted to get into everything and you needed to get stuff done? If you had similar issues with a baby who didn't want to be put down, what did you do to make things easier? Also please don't tell me to "just enjoy this time and let the housework go because babies don't keep" I'm well aware that this is a special time to enjoy with him, but stuff still needs to get done! And I still need to get dressed in the morning!
nectarine / 2521 posts
@Msglass: At that age, separation anxiety is high. I let my son just hang out with me while I worked. For example, when I folded laundry, I gave him one or two pieces to throw in and out of the dryer to keep him entertained. While cooking, I put his high chair next to me and gave him puffs and chatted to him. He still "helps" me with housework at age 3!
As for showering and getting dressed, I put him on the floor with toys and let him crawl around while I got ready. He was generally pretty happy just to be near me, even if I wasn't on the floor interacting.
If that isn't possible, maybe try small increments. Set him up with a new fun toy and check back in after a minute, then extend the time slowly. That worked best when I was cooking and could run in and out quickly.
Hang in there, it's a tough stage!
pear / 1961 posts
I'm guessing it's a touch of separation anxiety, which can/usually creep up around this age? My DS is right at 8m and has been showing a bit of it too, especially later in the day when he's a little fussier anyway.
Can he still see you from the gated area? What about using a pack-n-play to keep him contained right next to wherever you are? That way he is super close and can still see you? He might still cry, but at least you can try to soothe him and/or do the Janet Lansbury "You don't want to be put down. Mama needs both hands to do XYZ, and then I can pick you up and snuggle" (or whatever) to kind of establish small, set times of independence with support. I think around this age games like peek-a-boo are good too, to show that you "leave" but always return. And, if you'd like, you can always wear them (if possible...clearly doesn't exactly work for getting dressed! ha) to have snuggles but both hands free.
Separation anxiety can definitely be rough! My oldest had it bad and basically only liked me for 2m -- luckily my middle didn't express much of it at all. And, like I said, we'll see with my youngest since he's just coming up to it. Different for every kid, and you just need to support them as they go through it...both with chances to be independent from you (and learn that it's ok) as well as lots of snuggles when you can
Hang in there!
nectarine / 2148 posts
Unfortunately this is not the best answer but my son was like that and we just had to wait it out.
grapefruit / 4988 posts
This can be child dependent, unfortunately. I have an 8 month old as well and I am lucky that he plays very well independently, as long as he is not too tired. My almost 4 year old was not that way at all and in fact still doesn't play independently for very long. It was tough when she was a baby, especially because she crawled and walked early so I didn't feel comfortable leaving her anyway. We used to put her in her high chair in the kitchen or in a pack n play in the living room so she could be as close to us as possible while we were cooking or doing chores. When she was a little older, we bought a FunPod (learning tower thing) for the kitchen and that helped a ton because she could stand right there next to us while we were cooking.
Definitely though keep working on independent play because I sometimes wonder if we didn't leave her alone enough as a baby/toddler. It is crazy to me that her little brother can keep himself entertained longer than she can.
persimmon / 1270 posts
DS1 was a great independent player, DS2 prefers to hold onto my pants while I try to cook. Luckily our kitchen is tinny so I can reach most everything with out taking too many steps I think he will figure it out soon.
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
@Tanjowen: I agree. My kids (very attached) were horrible at indiependent play. Especially if they felt locked/confined. We finally gave up the pack and play thing and just let them roam while I go about doing work. Usually the roaming is crying to catch up with me but at least they are close by. While doing dishes they play at my feet or put spoons in the dishwasher (while I load the top). Same for laundry, give them some things to throw in and out of a basket.
grapefruit / 4361 posts
At 8 months, LO was a big fan of playing with the plastic nesting mixing bowls, banging in the pots with a wooden spoon, and crawling in and out of the few non-locked cabinets. He also liked taking silverware out of the dishwasher but you have to remove any sharp knives first, obvi.
For laundry, I would put the washed clothes on the open dryer door, and he'd push them in. Then to unload the dryer, I'd put him in the hamper and jokingly put the clothes on his head (only a couple at a time) I have wide hampers so they'd fall in. I couldn't ever figure out anything for folding though. Just folded FAST.
For getting dressed and ready in the morning in my bedroom,he likes to just explore bc he's never in there otherwise.
No ideas for how to encourage independence at that age. Just keep trying!
pineapple / 12566 posts
This sounds fairly normal to me. My kids were both somewhat clingy when they were babies/young toddlers. I always tried to set up an activity near me when I needed to get things done. Can you put him in a highchair in the kitchen while you are cooking? Give him a few spoons/Tupperware containers to play with while you cook. If you are folding clothes, set up an area right near you on the floor with a few toys or even give him a few socks.
cherry / 126 posts
Sounds normal to me as well. One thing that helped me was realizing that my daughter's behavior was entirely developmentally appropriate and to stop expecting it to be different from what it was - that gap in expectation versus what my child was capable of doing was what was causing frustration, and it frankly wasn't fair to expect her to behave in that way yet because she was not developmentally there. It's so tough. But changing my mindset definitely helped me have more patience and not constantly think I was doing something wrong. Have you considered babywearing? It was a lifesaver for me at that age. Baby was happy to be close to mama, and I had two hands free to do whatever I needed to do. Independent play just gradually got better on its own, and she's great now at 2.
persimmon / 1445 posts
@Tanjowen: this is what I do too! If I'm folding laundry in my room, I bring a toy in there. Then I let her play pots and pans in the kitchen while I cook, etc.
Also, I have the opinion that the baby is not going to be damaged for life if she cries for five minutes while I move over laundry or go to the bathroom as long as she is in a safe spot!
eggplant / 11861 posts
@Msglass: I think it is separation anxiety! DS is 9 months and is pretty good playing alone but if I make eye contact lol forget it
What about playing in highchair as you cook?!
nectarine / 2085 posts
You didn't do anything wrong.
I strapped my son onto my back in the Ergo to make dinner or used the high chair and something like puffs or blueberries. I'd fold laundry on the sofa and let him have a few socks to play with. And for getting dressed, I let him hang out with me (but I learned to do this quickly!).
pear / 1548 posts
I agree with others it sounds like separation anxiety and totally normal for this age.
@hony bologna: I 100% agree with this and try to apply this philosophy to all things parenting. It really helps me handle hard parenting situations when I adjust my expectations based on what's developmentally appropriate for my LO's age.
honeydew / 7622 posts
DD is 2.5 now and has always done well playing independently- if anything she's become 'worse' as she's become older in some respects. I think a lot is personality. At that age she would 'read' and stack board books. I agree with giving a snack in the highchair while cooking. Also when she was upset- usually due to teething- putting her in the carrier always helped.
grapefruit / 4455 posts
As the others have said it does sound normal around that age. You *can* be consistent and say "I will xyz and then I will be right back," and work your way up, but that might be difficult to start at the moment. If it were *me* I would just let LO follow me around the house and then work on small increments of alone time as LO gets a little older. Crying is normal when they want something too, so as long as it's not hysterical crying for a long time and you are consistent about coming back when you say you will ("I'm going to fold this towel and then I will pick you up," etc.) then I think it'll be ok in terms of secure attachment and all of that. I would just personally hold off a little and then when you get into it, just expect some resistance.
pomelo / 5326 posts
My DS is 9m so we are in the same stage. He will play independently for a few minutes if I have given him some interesting toys. He likes things that light up and make noise. If there are buttons to push, even better. If I'm gone too long though he will start crawling around looking for me and start getting into trouble. When I'm in the kitchen I find it best to just stick him in the high chair with some Cheerios or puffsand give him some shakers or spoons to bang on the tray. I also have our jumper/exercauser thing in the kitchen too so I can put him in there. If I continue to talk to him or yell "jump jump" at him, he will stay happy for a bit.
Is this your first child? I do find it easier because he is my second so I can ask my 4 y/o DD to sit and play with him and he's usually pretty content if she is there.
I do find this stage hard because they're semi-mobile and can get into problems easily so I hate leaving him for too long.
cantaloupe / 6669 posts
My LO had separation anxiety at this age, too. It's rough! I did what many others said - set her up to play nearby. And tried to do as much as I could during naps. This too shall pass!
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
Some kids just aren't good at independent play, like my son. I tried everything under the sun, and at the end of the day, he much prefers to be at least in the same room with me.
When my son was small and I had to cook, I'd roll the high chair into the kitchen and he'd be content to just watch me. When he got a little bigger, I had a dedicated drawer for him of stuff he could pull out and play. When he was walking, I set up a small table and he'd put croutons on the salads. I'd also give him some playdough and he'd stick pieces of raw pasta in it.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
@FaithFertility: Haha aww! Don't look, don't look, ahhh!
It's def normal. I have an almost 8 month old and I feel like while she is better at independent play than her sister (b/c she is the 2nd child haha), when she is clingy she is very clingy too b/c she knows she doesn't have me to herself? Haha! I love babywearing! She's currently sick and super attached and I solo'd both yesterday morning. I let DD1 watch something, wore her, and mopped the whole house! I also have "special" toys that I only bust out if I really need to be left alone for a minute. Or teething crackers always does the trick!