My child won’t play!

English: A German Shepherd waiting for someone...

English: A German Shepherd waiting for someone to play with him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay folks, I’d love your take on this one. My kid doesn’t play. She’s sweet (much of the time) and bright, but she is ALWAYS under foot. She knows where her toys are, but she would rather watch what I’m doing and “help.” Which is okay. Sometimes.

Sometimes, I just need her to go play. Build with blocks. Color on her easel. Dress her dolly. Heck, bang on pots and pans! But she won’t play unless we’re there with her, either as an engaged audience (and I do mean engaged…no zoning out in a book) or active participants.

I chatted with her daycare provider, who said the same thing.

“I have to push her to go play.”

That said, we put her to bed for a nap rather early today, and I went into a room, closed the door and painted walls. I could tell within the first half hour that she wasn’t sleeping, but I wasn’t about to come out, covered in paint and only 1/3 done with my wall. So I ignored the sounds I heard.

Today’s mess wasn’t quite this bad.

After two hours, I opened the door to her room, and she was happily playing on the floor!  For two hours! By herself! In her room! (Of course, she’d dug out three drawers’ worth of toys and doll clothes, but that is fixable.) The second I opened the door, all playing stopped, and it was back to being my little follower.

So, how can I get my child to play like that once in a while when she is NOT supposed to be napping? Any ideas?

I can’t just disappear all the time…my house isn’t that big!

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2 thoughts on “My child won’t play!

  1. So I went through this with A1 and learned that house stuff just doesn’t get done when I am a SAHM. A1 is the type that needs lots of attention… so I give it to her. I basically play or do fun activities with her in the mornings and then when I need a break and she’s been good, I let her watch a little TV, Also during “nap or quiet time” she will be in her room either napping or quietly playing by herself. She is 4 now and starting to play more independently, but her being the first- she gets lonely for someone to play with. A2 is not quite old enough to play with her- they interact but it usually involves toy stealing & hair pulling. Also play groups & play dates are nice.

  2. Obviously I have no experience with this yet… but possibly schedule “alone play time” every day like you schedule a nap. Start by making it 10 or 15 min and work up to however long you’d like her to entertain herself. Since you are going to do the SAHM thing, having a schedule written out on a big marker/chalk/poster board for the day might make it more simple for you and (kiddo) to get into the groove. Play dates also sound like a great idea as long as she would be happy to play with her little friend without mommy watching every moment of it.

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