I was interested that your 4 year old can be left to his own devices. That triggers a bit of a memory for me as I think my first child was a bit like that. But my second definitely not! Children are all so different - they are, after all, mini-humans. I think this is where the know-it-all theories and the parenting books go wrong, putting unnecessary guilt onto parents about what they're doing wrong.Lemur wrote: ↑Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:24 pmI found that by 4, I can pretty much leave him to his own devices during the day and my spouse and I check in on him occasionally when I'm working from home. As I'm typing this, he is sitting on the couch eating and messing with some crayons...quiet and busy Routine is key - Before, I start my remote work for the day, I take him out to walk a trail for an hour...come home; he plays with Mom and I work. Then at lunch, take him on another walk / play in backyard, and then after dinner do some playtime as my spouse goes to do her work.
On the other hand there do seem to be some universals, like having routines so they know what to expect. As you mentioned, starting with an activity seems to make them happier and more able to make their own entertainment for a while afterwards in "downtime". Whereas if you don't do anything at all with them they seem to get steadily crazier and crazier as the day progresses.