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How to get DS1 to play on his own

(5 Posts)
snailythomas Wed 13-Jul-11 21:51:13

DS2 is now 9 wks old. DS1 is 3 and was in nursery 4 days a week but had our undivided attention whenever we've been at home with him and has rarely had to play by himself. Afraid we've created a rod for our own backs as now I am looking after both children two days in the week (DS1 is at nursery for 3 days), I need him to play by himself sometimes, but he doesn't seem to be able to concentrate on any activity unless I'm also participating, and sees me asking him to play by himself as a rejection. Have tried creative activities (but unless I'm supervising I end up with paint footprints across the floors), we bought him a trampoline but he won't go on it unless we jump too, will only look at books at bedtime, has a train set which he will play with for a while but wants me to put the trains on for him when they fall off the rails etc. Any ideas on how I can gently encourage him to play by himself so that I can give some attention to the new baby, or ideas on things to do to entertain him while i feed / change nappies / talk to baby too. At the moment, I don't feel like I'm giving proper attention to either of my children.

HuwEdwards Wed 13-Jul-11 22:46:43

Honestly? Your DS1 still needs your attention - more so than DS2. Your DS2 needs skin contact , cuddling etc but you can still give this whilst giving attention to and talking talking to DS1. Mine have a 2 yr gap (and are 8 and 10 now) and get on really well. Treat DSs as a pair... sounds strange when DS2 is still so little, and maybe too little but going forward, encourage them to be a team. I would go into their (shared bedroom) in the morning and say 'what are you two up to" etc

Disclaimer - fall very short of probably even mediocre mother

chocolatecrispies Wed 13-Jul-11 23:03:45

My ds aged just 3 is exactly the same, I have a 5 week old dd and can hardly get time to change her nappy without cries of 'I need you here now mummy!'. I don't think you've made a rod, I just think some children are like that and it's very hard work. At the moment I cope by asking him to help, praising any thing he does independently effusively and letting him watch DVDs. The only thing he will sometimes do independently (apart from destroying things) is Lego, is your ds into that? Occasionally I can say 'can you build me a house/boat/hospital?' and as long as I am watching he will get on with it. Your post makes me feel better- my ds is also in childcare 3 days a week and have been feeling terribly guilty that I'm not looking after both of them full time but your post has made me think about how hard that would be! Good luck, you are not alone.

AllYourCakeAreBelongToMe Wed 13-Jul-11 23:10:42

He needs you. He's just had his little life turned upside down. Can you make a box of quiet activities to do with him (eg reading, sticking etc) when you're feeding the baby? Also when you need to do things for the baby, can you get him to help? Get him to fetch nappies, wipes etc, so he feels big and important?
As far as I can remember, this stage doesn't last for long. It is hard though.

JarethTheGoblinKing Wed 13-Jul-11 23:17:17

Give him attention whenever he asks (baby permitting of course) play constantly, involve yourself constantly, take over games etc, he'll eventually tell you to bog off and leave him to his jigsaws

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