When I think about it I realise we have raised our children differently. When Caspar was little he never left my side. Every day, every moment, together. As Otis has been raised more of the Montessori way we have spent time apart from the start.
You may remember that Otis was only a couple of weeks old when I would leave him alone in his room with his mobiles. It started as five to ten minutes. And we continued to leave Otis in his room alone as he progressed from his mobiles to playing with his toys and now crawling around. Now he will spend up to an hour in his room alone, most commonly around thirty minutes once or sometimes twice a day.
A couple of things to note. Otis will only spend time alone in his room if Caspar is out. If Caspar is home Otis wants to be with or near him. We have attempted to make Otis's room as child proof as possible. We don't have a gate on his door and we don't close his door, it remains open. This is so he can hear me, he knows where I am and so he can come out and be with me if he chooses.
When Otis is in his room alone I close the doors of all the other rooms in the house except the room I am in, usually the kitchen. Our house isn't very big (and it's all one level) and the kitchen is adjacent to his room. So if he comes looking I am easily found. Also I supervise him, I regularly check on him and I am always within earshot.
We also try our absolute hardest to ensure Otis has safe, developmentally appropriate toys and materials in his room. Rotating toys and materials is definitely part of the process of keeping things interesting for him.
The benefits? I get some cooking/cleaning/preparation done. It allows him freedom, he can do as he wishes, he can play alone or he can come and see me. I think it may also improve his concentration, he learns to entertain himself and he learns to be alone.
Usually he plays with his toys, sings to himself, climbs all over his bed and generally creates a mess.
And guess who turned one today?