How much independent play is "too much"?

So no matter what, Jacoby prefers to play independently.  He'll spend hours in his playpen or his exersaucer just doing his own thing, and gets cranky if we bother him. 


He hates to be read to, no matter the book, he just doesn't want to sit still and listen/pay attention to it.  And he's not one to cuddle - besides feeding him, I haven't got a good cuddle in months, and now he doesn't even want to be rocked to sleep.  While this sounds like a relief to mom's with needy babies, Jacoby is the exactly opposite and that makes me just as nervous.  How much is normal at 7 months?

When he does want to play with us, he giggles, smiles and mimics us just fine.  He babbles at/with us and is interactive at meal time.  He has no seperation/stranger anxeity and loves everyone.  He's very easy going and adapts to new situations very well - but part of the mommy in me is worried. 


So should I feel blessed that he's so independent and not needy or do you think this could be the precursor to something like an Autism Spectrum Disorder?  I don't want to go googling first, because if I'm being crazy worried for no reason I'll go looking for symptoms that aren't there (like KK with the finger snapping).....


 

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 3:28 am
TigerGirl
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(8) Comments

VanessaDToBe
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09/19/2009
VanessaDToBe

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Sounds like J is very normal, just very independant.  I don't think that's a bad thing, nor do i think it's a sign of autism.  Sophie has gotten more and more independant, and although she's very affectionate, she rarely cuddles (I definitely miss that).  She'll spend most of her time playing on her own on the floor--I find the more that she learns to do on her own, the more time she spends playing on her own.  This past week alone she's learned to crawl properly, go from a crawl to a proper sit, and can now pull herself up onto her feet (while holding onto something).


Her independance is just a reminder to me that she's growing so quickly, and that spending time on her own playing is how she's learning to do new things.  It's hard to not feel as needed (although i know I'm still very much needed) though!

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 3:33 am
RoRoless3sSL
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Does he yell for you to get your attention? Does he have any peculiar habits like sorting things excessively? Those were the two big one my Ped told me to watch for: not calling out for attention vocally and sorting things excessively.


Johnathon has funky habits like when he's given a packet of M&Ms he always sorts them by color before eating them. He also has a specific order his books go on the book shelf and while I've noticed they are always in the same order they are not in any discernible order to me he has a FIT and takes EVERY book out if I put them away wrong only to put them in himself in his order. He also lines things up in straight lines when he plays. All of these things can be signs of Autism. My Ped is not worried about Johnathon though because he is so so social, he calls for attention for himself and one of his favorite things to do is to yell "MOMMY LOOK AT THIS!" and then do something funny or show me some new things he's figured out how to do with his toys. Those are very good indicators he does not have autism. However they are looking at him possibly having OCD because he likes things going in order and in his routine so much that he cannot function well when his routine is interrupted, that combined with his funky sorting habits indicate OCD more then any other issue.

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 3:46 am
kristinkay
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I wouldn't be concerned about autism (I should be one to talk right? haha) but I would make sure that while he is playing independently on the floor you are narrating what he is doing (like "do you have the ball? now you are bringing it up to your mouth. do you think you can bring it above your head? do you like that ball?" stuff like that) to help with language development. I think thats the most important thing - during independent play they are learning so much about their bodies and about how the world works but they aren't learning any language skills.


I would also not keep him in the exersaucer or any other "device" for more than 15 minutes a day. My ped told me not to put Ashlyn in any position that she could not put herself in for longer than that because it could hurt their spine and overall development. Ashlyn freaking LOVES her Jenny Jump Up - like will scream in delight when I first put her in it, but never leave her in it for longer than my shower (usually like 10 minutes these days...) and I generally try to talk to her the entire time as well.


For books - Ashlyn didn't want to sit still at all either, but we noticed that if we gave her a little mini board book then she was much happier. I think she just wanted to be more involved ya know? I also relaxed my expectations a little - we rarely get through the entire "Cat in a Hat" book - but oh well. I figure getting some each day is what is important. And try to do the voices super exaggerated and she thinks that is pretty funny. I also point out stuff in each picture and she likes that too. If you have those figure puppet books  - those are really big in our house!


Like this one:


I wouldn t be photo 2882469-1

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 5:42 am
July.18.2008
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at 17 1/2 months my son is a super independent player. You can sit with him and try to play and he'll last like 5 minutes then he'll go do his own thing. He's so busy. I do talk to him while he's playing and he definitely hears me and pays attention to me. I'll always ask him to go find a specific toy or picture of someone in the house and he'll run right off to get it! I too feel sorta weird by how well he can just play by himself. Everyone keeps telling me it's a blessing because alot of babies need constant attention and are always looking for you to entertain them. He's just recently started to be a bit more clingy at times. 


He has however been a book lover since he was a newborn. He used to just lay there and let me read, then he started getting into his own books. We'll read during the day then reading books is part of our nighttime routine. I'll tell him to go pick out a few to read (he always picks the same ones- he's so cute), then we'll read together before bed. 


We have the book above, just ours is the Little Giraffe. He gets a kick out of it!


So far I haven't noticed any crazy OCD habits...


 

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 6:47 am
Lucky16
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I have nothing valuable to add, but roroless, I have always, always sorted my m&m's by color. I eat them in order of least favorite color (brown) to favorite color (green). I have no idea why I starred doing it, but I am not autistic nor do I have ocd. :)
Posted on April 20, 2011 at 6:56 am
yelppuppy
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05/23/2009
yelppuppy

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DH was like that as a baby too.  His mom was in grad school at that time and was so blessed that he could play in the playpen for hours without attention.  If she had our son she would've flunked out of school!


DH's still like that lol!  He's not much of a people person, but everybody likes him.  He just couldn't be bothered with going out of his way to socialize, or to remember people's birthdays, typical guy I suppose.


Our son is the opposite.  He LOVES people and needs constant attention. I envy your situation but I totally understand that you want to cuddle with him more!  If he interacts with your normally when he feels like it, I wouldn't worry about autism/asperger.  Personally I think asperger is overly diagnosed.  By today's standard, both DH and I probably would've been labeled asperger as kids, but we both turned out fine.

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 7:31 am
TheBlueBride
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Perfect response Kristen!  Couldn't have said it better.  


 


 

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm
missmary221
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Brody sounds a little like Jacoby! He's always loved hanging out on his playmat by himself and now that he's a little bigger loves the exersaucer and jumperoo. When we're reading to him, he prefers to be lounging in the boppy looking up at us reading in the chair instead of being held. He hates being rocked to sleep and we never get to cuddle :(  But I do hold him as much as I can, he'll lay on my legs or on the couch with me hovering over him.


I'm sure as mom's it's natural for us to worry about everything!! If B was the opposite I'd worry that he was too clingy lol I'm sure everything is fine, but just mention it at your next pedi visit.

Posted on April 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

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