The 15/45 Principle

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Have you noticed that sometimes your kids are super happy to play independently, but other times they need you MORE THAN OXYGEN?!?!  And that the latter is usually when it's critically important that you accomplish something.

In my mothering experience, there's an idea that has been repeatedly reinforced. I call it The 15/45 Principle.

So what is it?

The 15/45 Principle and How It Can Dramatically Change Your Day Starting Right NOW!

When a child is wanting your attention, if you will spend a solid chunk of time, like 15 minutes, giving them intentional, focused, positive, and sweet attention (like reading books, talking, playing, etc--not on your phone, watching TV, or folding laundry), they will get that need met and then be happy to go back to independent play for a large chunk of time, like 45 minutes.

Does this work for all children? Of course not. Babies and kids under 1 don't generally do this, nor would special needs kids or kids who haven't learned to play independently yet.

I can't tell you how many times it's been CRYSTAL CLEAR that a kid needs some ATTENTION, and I read that book, or snuggle, or have the conversation about Minecraft and then--BOOM! they're crawling off my lap and off to their next adventure. Because like eating a sandwich, they get that attention need met and then they're just fine until they're "hungry" again!

What if your kid doesn't ever play independently?

Wow, that's tough!  As a mom and someone who wants to help, be encouraged: your child can learn to play independently and it will be GREAT for him AND you.  There are two important factors here: fun toys and be consistent.  Start small.  Grab a small set of toys, like MegaBlocks, Bead Toy, Lace Sewing, Pegboard Stacking, or Brain FlakesYou can also DIY busy bags VERY cheaply.  Tell her that she's going to play for 5 minutes while you put clothes in the wash (or some other task).  If she's not excited and doesn't want to do it, tell her you'll give her a small treat if she can be a Big girl and play with her toys for 5 minutes while you finish your task.  If she does it and she's still happy, ask her if she wants to keep playing (and give her the promised treat).  If so, that's AMAZING! Great job.  If not, say, "OK, then time to clean up."  If she doesn't make it through the 5 minutes, say that it's OK, that you'll try again later or tomorrow (and she doesn't get the treat).  If he's struggling, wait until tomorrow or the next day and try again (and again and again and again).  He WILL get it and ENJOY it!
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