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To think DDs method of playing is exhausting and to want to know about your 4 and 5 year olds?

(30 Posts)
MrsMushroom Wed 23-Jan-13 07:49:57

DD is 4....5 in March. She's very lively and her fave form of playing is to think up long, complicated scenarios involving "spies".

If I'm playing with her I'm directed to within an inch of my life....*You stand there and then I come along but you DON'T see me....then I poke you in the ribs and you turn this way....not that way...this way and you still cant see me so you say "Huh?" and look around like this.....then you do see me but only after I've gone under the table and stolen all the cushions....*

And it goes on and on until she's satisfied then I have to try and remember all the bloody instructions! if I get it wrong she has a mild paddy and we begin again.

She rarely plays with dolls or toys which mean she'll sit alone like puzzles or cars..she prefers physical, action type things like wrestling and hide and seek and as I say, complex adventures she's invented.

Is this normal? I worry about her at school because I can't imagine other 4 and 5 year olds agreeing to this...she seems to have friends but how can I teach her to be more open to others ideas? How does your 4 and 5 year old play?

Branleuse Wed 23-Jan-13 07:54:57

sounds like shes got a great imagination and is bright, but it sounds like shes relying on you a bit much as her playmate

MrsMushroom Wed 23-Jan-13 07:57:15

Well Bran I'm actually a bit crap and rarely get down to play...she plays with her sister mostly who is 8 but very gentle and doesn't seem to mind being directed so much.

JoandMax Wed 23-Jan-13 07:57:51

4.5 yo DS1 has really got into imagination games like that where we have to pretend I be dinosaurs/dogs/astronauts and go on long adventures! Luckily I have DS2 who is normally bossed around and happily obliges...!

And masses of jumping, skidding, power ranger type moves. And loud!!

curiousuze Wed 23-Jan-13 07:58:32

At that age I'd play like that - but with friends. My mum would never have bothered herself with all that carry on!

littlewhitebag Wed 23-Jan-13 08:02:53

Sounds perfectly normal - but she needs to play this with friends as they won't get bored as quickly as you!

campocaro Wed 23-Jan-13 08:02:54

My daughter was like this-usually it was a 'big sister little sister' scenario and she loved bossing me around.

found it best to set a time limit and play intensively for this period and I gave her complete attention -- gave in totally to her control --! I can't remember how long prob about 45 mins to an hour each time. After that she knew she/we had to do other things.

Giving her total attention worked much better and although it wasn't my preferred play activity it was much better all round if we did it properly!

schobe Wed 23-Jan-13 08:04:11

My DD is a bit like this, but she had to learn to play alone as well when the adults were busy or she would have had nothing to do.

In the absence of a playmate, she will play similar imaginary games with figures or animals or her multitude of strange soft toys.

She is 6 now and it seems to have stood her in good stead for playing pretend games in the playground. She learnt pretty quickly that she can't always be in charge, the other kids wouldn't put up with that for long.

I think the answer here is lots of exposure to playing with peers plus being encouraged to play alone for set periods (set a timer if it helps). When you play with her, introduce turn taking, ie you decide the game for 10 minutes, then it's my turn. Make sure you think of something really, REALLY fun when it's your turn though, or that's probably doing more harm than good.

In the kindest possible way, you need to stop rewarding her when she gets cross when you get the 'rules' wrong. Tantrum = game over.

Cat98 Wed 23-Jan-13 08:04:43

Yes! Ds (4 and a half) plays like that. And he does rely on h and I as playmates! He's an only child. Not sure what to do about it tbh!

MrsMushroom Wed 23-Jan-13 08:10:00

I will try to get her some more's boody awkward because I dont drive though. Sigh.

yellowsheep Wed 23-Jan-13 10:51:26

I have twin 4 old's and a 6 yr old.... The 4 yr olds play differs games to each other the 6 Arnold plays with Moshi sylvaian familys. I can quite often wander about the house turning into a reindeer/goat/sheep then into an astronaut off to mars before helping to get the group of stranded Moshi across the carpet.... I am waiting for the day they all play a game together

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 10:51:28

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GoldenHandshake Wed 23-Jan-13 10:55:21

DD can play like this at times, but equally she will play with her little people figures and create a little town and delight in having complete control over all of the inhabitants grin.

When she does involve me though she is very prescriptive as you describe, I think it is just a bossy streak, she'll make a great manager one day wink

JessicaMLH Wed 23-Jan-13 10:59:41

I have good memories of playing like this with my uncle! grin He has the mental age of a child (I don't mean that in a horrible way, he was born brain damaged) so we used to watch Power Rangers and Disney films together and then act it out, it was awesome! Though I don't think my mum would have done it tbh, and I was always happy to play alone when friends/uncle weren't around. This was about the age 4-6 if I remember rightly.

Goldenbear Wed 23-Jan-13 11:01:20

Well my DS is 5 and likes role playing but doesn't expect me to DP anything. If he dresses up as a Jedi knight he will go around on his own with a light saber and uses his teddies and soft toys as the enemy. TBH his favourite thing to do is action figures with worlds he sets up himself and he does endless drawing so be does occupy himself. Is there any chance of showing her how to do this with soft toys?

StanleyLambchop Wed 23-Jan-13 11:04:38

My DD was like that at that age- I used to have to pretend to visit her at her house, and endlessly knock on her front door and trot out the lines that she had given me, if I got it wrong or deviated even slightly due to intense boredom then we would have to start all over again. I used to love the ILs coming round so they could be bossed around instead! grin

She grew out of it eventually, and plays nicely with her friends now. Hang in there!

MsVestibule Wed 23-Jan-13 11:07:31

The best thing I ever did was have two children 20 months apart! Although I wasn't saying that 3 years ago when Prozac was the only thing stopping me from jumping off a bridge. I really, really cannot be bothered with those sort of games. Happy to do a jigsaw or play a board game, but imaginary play is just too tedious for me. Luckily my DD(5) is really into crafts and colouring in and DS(4) will play on the computer, so that normally gives me an hours peace.

Sorry, no advice. Just let her boss her big sister about!

DragonMamma Wed 23-Jan-13 11:09:00

Oh god, my DD is 5 and my Dsis is 4.5 and neither play like this. Thankfully they have each other but they play schools a lot and one is the teacher but they don't boss the other around too much. Sounds like hard work tbh.

My DN is almost 4 and he is really in to imaginative play. It drives his mum mad, especially because he is obsessed with Home Alone and spends hours booby trapping the house. Which isn't usually a problem but she she's 7 months pg with twins so can't see the floor to watch for traps!

FreudiansSlipper Wed 23-Jan-13 11:14:25

Would happily have ds (5) friends from school around every night it is so much easier

Today I have already had to pretend I was an octonaut diving into the deep sea at 7--sodding--am all I want to do is have a cup of tea on peace

MerylStrop Wed 23-Jan-13 11:16:51

DD, almost 6, is like this

Thank God we had DS2 (who adores her and is most biddable)

DD told me yesterday "I don't really like playing with toys I like playing with other people". She is not as bossy with other kids, they kind of enter the fantasy world together. At home she also likes making- I hesitate to call it crafts. Increasingly she also makes books into which she writes and draws her mad stories, which has given us a bit of relief.

I think I was a bit like that too, but fortunately in the 1970s there was a street full of other kids send out to play with. Were you?

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 23-Jan-13 11:22:13

That's what my oldest was like when he was 5.

I only indulged him a little when he was in hospital in traction. He micro-directed my every move when we played with toy soldiers. Time slowed to a crawl.

I only did it because he was in the hospital. No more!

InsomniaQueen Wed 23-Jan-13 11:28:33

WHen my niece was like this her mum would write a 'script' - they would sit together at the computer putting it together with stage directions, desired costumes ect.

Once they had a couple of pages they would print it out and perform it for friends, family and anyone who happened to pop in. That way she could at least have a rest whilst they were in the writing phase! Cups of tea and a biscuit were also essential for mummy being able to type efficiently.

ShowOfHands Wed 23-Jan-13 11:38:58

"So you stand there and you have only your right hand on your hip and then when I look at you in a sideways fashion, you throw your hand in the air and say 'goodness me' and then put your hand back on your hip and sigh".

5yo dd just last night. Only she's bossing about a 16 month old and somewhat recalcitrant toddler.

Don't worry. DD plays thus with her friends and they're all similar only they're not afraid to shout over each other, chip in with ideas and compromise. It's quite interesting to watch them navigate through it. DD's best friends are twins and whenever we're at their house I have to endure their 'shows'. They've very complex, they practise for hours and have fun writing scripts, sorting out props and making costumes.

DD does it less at home now as she gets her fix at school and now she can write well, she is more prone to sitting and writing complex stories with scribbled stage directions and diagrams. They do develop these ideas differently once they have the skills to channel them into a more manageable way of playing. And thank goodness because they days I've spent with the colander on my head, a sheet about my shoulders and a spatula waved under my nose as I'm directed to "dance like a one legged alien NOW mama" are on their way out.

Startail Wed 23-Jan-13 11:39:37

DD2 was like that bossed the little girl next door round like mad. Tried to boss DD1, but DD1 doesn't do pretend play and neither do I.

As others have said she learnt to transfer her love of organising to teddies (especially dress able builder bears), dolls and playmobil people.

I'm afraid from ~7 she's also had a lap top with SIMs on it and she goes and organises digital people.

She's almost 12 and must be less bossy at school as she has always had lots of friends.

House is still covered in carefully arranged playmobil people and vehicles and she has SIMs 2 and 3 running on different computers.

She wants to be a teacher and organise real children. I suspect she'd end up as HT and organise the staff as well grin

MrsMushroom Wed 23-Jan-13 14:36:10

Thank God people who understand! SOH it's so maddening I can't imagine a 16 month old grasping it!

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