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My son (2.11) seems to be lazy with playing and often very negative.

(8 Posts)
starsareshining Thu 02-Dec-10 16:12:00

I've always tried to encourage him to play alone and he was quite happy to do this, but it's just gone downhill over the past few months. CBeebies was restricted to a couple of hours a day and he was also fine with that. He now seems to be obsessed with it and just wants to sit in front of it all day every day no matter what else is going on. He knows how to turn the TV on, so I now have to unplug the TV and he's attempted to put the plug back into the socket on a few occasions!

If we don't have the TV on, he doesn't seem to care about doing anything else. I've tried to encourage playing with his toys and using his imagination, but he doesn't want to know anymore. He wants me to do absolutely everything while he just sits there and watches. I suggest a game, perhaps something like 'Oh, I think there might be an emergency in our living room, send the firemen!', so when I ask things like 'where shall we drive the fire engine?', I just get 'I dont know, you do it'. He was happy to play alone before but now it feels as though I'm being forced to play on the floor while he watches. If I get him involved in something and then try to leave, he loses all interest. If I go into the kitchen to leave him to play alone, he just hangs onto my legs and won't do it without me but doesn't really seem to get much enjoyment from it anyway because he's not involved in it and won't take the lead.

I've tried to get him to colour or draw, but he just won't do it. He'll do it for about two seconds, then lose interest in it and just start scribbling all over the page and then walk off. He's also incredibly negative about himself for a two year old. We'll talk about what he could draw, then he'll have a go and within five seconds he gives up and tells me that it's no good, he can't do it and he's bad at drawing, then refuses to try anymore. Even if I really praise what he's doing, he disagrees with me. It's almost as though he's too aware of things so knows that his drawing doesn't actually look like a fire engine and gets really down about it. It isn't something I've come across with other toddlers at the play groups we go to, so I really don't know what to do about it.

How can I stop him thinking so badly about himself and start playing alone again?

Elfy Thu 02-Dec-10 22:11:30

I don't have much to add, except to say that it sounds very much like my DS, who is also 2.11. All he wants to do is watch TV. It can be a nightmare to leave the house as he won't get dressed, won't have breakfast, won't get in the car without a MAJOR battle. I have also unplugged the TV!
I know that the best way would be to take it away altogether, but tbh, he doesn't sleep in the day any more and it gives me a brief respite from his tantrums and terrible moods. I am in tears on a daily basis. I've read some other posts about the age of 3.5 and being in control. My DS literally shouts 'I'm in charge' at me and then cries because I can't make the sun go down (at 7am!)
You have my every sympathy, but I don't have any solutions. Sorry! The only hope is that it's 'just a phase'....

tryingtoleave Fri 03-Dec-10 03:21:55

DS stopped playing on his own at about the same time that DD was born (around 2.4). He wanted me to play with him all the time - although he did direct the game. He also stopped napping, so was completely exhausting.

It's only now, 2 years later, that he will play on his own a little or with DD. So I don't have many suggestions to change this, but I dealt with it by taking him out a lot, to places where I could get a bit of a break and at 3.5 he started preschool 5 days a week. We also taught him to use the computer - starfall and poisson rouge, because he would do that on his own.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 03-Dec-10 06:05:18

Maybe you're praising too much?
If you effuse, 'DS what a great fire engine' when he knows it's barely recognisable, it's not very motivating for him.
Can you show an interest in his drawing without actually praising:
'I see you made the sun really big.' 'What's the fireman doing?'

Also have you tried this? When the TV is off, don't try to encourage him to play with his toys but let him be with you, give him a cloth to clean with, get him to pass the pegs, plastic bowls to 'wash up' etc while you are doing your chores.

starsareshining Fri 03-Dec-10 06:56:13

Sorry to hear that you're having a tough time Elfy. His behaviour has improved slightly since I started with a more structured form of discipline. He's also going to start pre-school in January so I'm hoping that he'll get some enjoyment out of that.

I tend not to praise too much because he doesn't respond well to it. He can become embarrassed and annoyed very easily and often insists that I don't look at him etc. I was actually just a bit worried that he's too much like me. I do have very low self esteem and was worried that it had affected him in some way. I would try showing an interest in it without praising but he won't even attempt a drawing anymore. Since he's so obsessed with CBeebies, I did try to use some of the programmes to get him interested in doing stuff. So if 'Let's Get Squiggling' comes on, he'll get really excited and rush around telling me that we need to get our paper and crayons. He'll then put the crayon onto the paper for one second, tell me that he's no good and he can't do it and I just end up sitting there drawing things with him refusing to even try.

mammamia25 Fri 03-Dec-10 12:20:48

No advice I'm afraid, but just to say my dd(3.4) also says she's no good at drawing or colouring and gives up really quickly. She says it about other things she knows she doesnt do properly yet too, like swimming, so i'm trying to explain that we all take time to learn how to do things, but its not having much effect. Unfortunately she seems to have inherited my perfectionist and low self-esteem tendancies which i've tried so hard not to project to her sad

Frawli Fri 03-Dec-10 22:18:21

My LO can be like this, if he doesn't think he's good at something he won't try. Although I wanted to encourage his drawing he just wouldn't do it. With us it has helped a lot him starting at nursery, he's that bit older than he was and he has surprised me by not only doing drawing and painting but doing it really well considering how little practice he's had.

We had more luck getting him to draw with felt tips than crayons or pencils, I think they don't have to push so hard onto the paper. Also, could you do stamps with him, as they come out as intended rather than a drawing which doesn't come out how he'd like.

I think one of the big reasons for my DS is that he was comparing his drawings with mine whereas being in nursery he's comparing himself with other children his age so he's getting more realistic expectations.

piprabbit Fri 03-Dec-10 22:26:24

Can you involve him in what you are doing a little more, helping round the house etc. so that he doesn't have to go a play alone if he doesn't want to.

Also, he might be slightly enjoying the drama/attention that he gets when he is negative (depending on how you are reacting of course). Perhaps ignore the outburst, and just say 'I'm going to draw a monster/make lunch/sing a song' and move on to the next activity.

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