One of the skills I read about in Babywise II was to teach my baby Blanket Time. It teaches the baby to stay in a smaller area without physical boundaries like a playpen. It also teaches a child to focus on a small area of space with one or two toys. I wanted to do this with Zara so that while traveling or flying she can play on a small area and be safe in a larger space.
Blanket Time (Babywise II, Pre-toddlerwise, toddlerwise)
What is Blanket Time?
Blanket time is an allotted amount of time in the day when you instruct your child to remain on a small blanket (3×3 or 4×4) and play with a select few toys that you have chosen for him/ her to play with. Blanket time can be started as early as you want with your infant and continued into toddlerhood.
What is the purpose of Blanket Time?
“Blanket time provides an opportunity to teach a child to play in a limited area without a physical parameter.” (Pre-toddlerwise p.142) It also teaches “sitting skills or what we call parameter skills (the ability to stay put within a boundary).” (Toddlerwise p. 45) This skill comes in handy when you need your child to obey you and stay put. A good example is when you are preparing dinner in the kitchen and you need to open the oven, you would want you child to stay away from the oven. With Blanket Time, you can tell your child to sit and remain still until you allow him or her to get up. Or perhaps you are out in public and you need your child to stay in one spot for a short period of time; this learned skill really comes in handy and keeps your baby safe. Ultimately, blanket time teaches your child at a young age to obey you. Blanket time also helps with mental focus by only allowing them a few toys that they must play with while on the blanket.
How long should blanket time last?
Start with 3-5 minutes once a day. Once your child demonstrates he can stay on the blanket and play without fussing or crawling or walking off, you can slowly increase the time up to 30 minutes a day. Use a timer to set a designated time. The loud noise of the time going off will signal to your child that blanket time is over.
What if he crawls or walks off the blanket?
The first couple of times he does blanket time, remain close to him to monitor him. When he does move off the blanket, quickly return him to the blanket and give clear instructions to stay put and play with his toys. I typically say to Cooper, “Cooper, it is blanket time, we stay on the blanket.” I then direct him toward a toy on the blanket.