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Expecting too much for 2 year old to play alone for a bit?

(13 Posts)
happygilmore Wed 17-Oct-12 14:00:53

I suspect I am, feeling very guilty that I even feel like this.

My DD is 2.5 and will not seem to play alone at all at the minute. All she asks is "mummy play" "mummy do it", all day long. I do spend a lot of time playing with her, but she really just wants me to play with her all day long. I find it mind numbingly boring though sad Sounds awful typing that but I do! She wants me to feed her animals over and over again, have done it for about 2 hours today already and if I have to feed a fried egg to an elephant again I think I may just scream..

I'm guessing also she just wants to be like her mummy, but I would love her to play just a little more by herself. Am I expecting too much? She did use to play a little more on her own, but now it really rarely happens. I hope I don't sound too harsh, I love her to bits, and it is a privilege to see her develop, I just am finding this stage a little difficult.

SamSmalaidh Wed 17-Oct-12 14:03:29

My 2 year old plays on his own. To be honest I would say no if he wanted me to feed animals over and over - or maybe say I will play for 10 minutes but then I am going to do the hoovering/sit down with a coffee and he'll have to play on his own.

happygilmore Wed 17-Oct-12 14:05:42

I do do that, a lot, but it doesn't seem to encourage her to play by herself..she just hangs off me until I finish what I'm doing.

CarpeJugulum Wed 17-Oct-12 14:12:07

My DS does this in fits and starts. I use the 1 to 1 routine with him which seems to help. So, if I know I need to do 10 mins of housework, I'll play with him for a solid 10 minutes without clock watching much. I also use it as a way to teach time so "Mum needs to do x for 10 minutes, that's when the big hand goes from here to here; then I'll play with you for 10 minutes...". It's not perfect, but it means he knows what is happening and there is a fixed point he is waiting for.

He also "helps" me in the kitchen, or draws at the table while I chop veg. I also give him a duster and a specific thing to dust while I zoom round the rest.

I may also resort to CBeebies for 20 minutes if stuff is urgent blush

happygilmore Wed 17-Oct-12 14:17:27

The telly is the only thing that gives me peace blush

She loves helping me and that does work a bit, thanks for the tip about ten mins, I've done that a bit but should do it more.

It's almost like she wants to do everything I do, it's very sweet but I find it a little overwhelming at times, especially as she wasn't always like this. For instance if I'm writing something she wants to have my pen (not a different one) and do the writing herself, and then gets furious because she can't actually write yet (squiggles won't cut it). I have taken to writing things out of sight to save a tantrum which is ridiculous. She is like this with everything just now.

Also, she no longer gets a toy, she'll come up to me and say "mummy play X" and only then will she want to play with it. A lot of it seems to be me to be looking to me to show her what to do (e.g. what to make the lego shape) but she'll quite happily sit there for hours watching me play if I'd let her. I really try to encourage her to take the lead, but she just seems to want me to play all day long.

God that sounds so whingey, and I don't mean it to. I just find it a bit tedious at times.

peppajay Wed 17-Oct-12 14:38:37

My DD is 6 and is still like this when she isnt at school she follows me about everywhere and will not and never has entertained herself. Both my DC's have swimming lessons on a tues eve after school and I ask her to stay in the foyer with her DS and a few of her classmates whilst I get her brother ready as the changing rooms are so cramped but will she NO. I lost it with her yesterday as there is no space for her to hang and she was getting trodden on and all sorts yesterday. Nothing works for her she hates being without an adult. My DS on the other hand is quite happy entertaining himself. I think it just comes down to different personalities!!!

Iggly Wed 17-Oct-12 15:13:39

Yes ds was like this but as he got closer to three, he's much better now! Maybe she can sense your boredom etc and gets clingy. I would get ds set up with toys in the same room as me, even the kitchen, and he'd play, I'd join in, then do five mins of my thing. Didn't get a cup of tea etc until recently though.

happygilmore Wed 17-Oct-12 16:43:49

Well I hope it does improve as she gets a bit older!

I don'#t know if it's clinginess, maybe although I don't sense that. It's almost as if she wants to copy what I'm doing all the time? She's the same with my DH too, just he's not here during the day.

EthelredOnAGoodDay Wed 17-Oct-12 16:48:10

My DD is almost 3 and has always been pretty good at making her own entertainment. Don't know if it's because she started nursery quite young (9 months) or if it's just that some children are, by their nature, happy playing alone. Am sure it will improve for you though as she gets bigger. smile

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 17-Oct-12 21:13:43

My DS (now 2.8) is very much like this. Like your DD, my DS would love to sit and watch me play all day. When he does play, he constantly asks what he is doing (or what his toy cars/bunnies/whatever are doing) and why - if I point out that he is in charge of the game so HE could tell ME what they are doing he seems quite confused.

I do understand how wearing it can be though. I once pretended to throw his most reasured possession (old biscuit tin full of Hot Wheels cars) in the bin as I said if he couldn't play with his toys by himself, then there was no point in him having them (blush I know, I know, but I was at the end of my tether!) This seemed to hit home and I did notice an improvement - he will now play for 10 mins or so before coming to find me to join in.

Other things which help are:
* Setting up his toys and playing for 10 mins, then getting on with my jobs for 10 mins, then back to playing etc. It works best if he can see me (so I often set up his car mat just outside the kitchen door).
* Asking him to do something specific with his toys while I am otherwise engaged (line up all your cars on this rug, chop up all these wooden vegetables and put them in these pans to make soup, draw me a treasure map etc). If he has a specific goal he will focus much better.
* Putting a CD on in the background, so there is constant noise and he can get up for a dance if he is bored.
* Letting him help me as much as possible (press the buttons on the washing machine, empty the dishwasher etc).
* If he is being ultra-clingy I do have rules in place - so if he insists on hanging around to watch me cook then he has to stand 'behind the line' (the runner which goes across the kitchen doorway). This is not very appealing so he will eventually wander off.
* As a last resort, Peppa Pig DVD!

plantsitter Wed 17-Oct-12 21:16:50

DD1 was like this but DD2 can play on her own for ages (I wonder if it's necessity). I have found DD1 is getting a bit better as she gets older but I would have friends round to play as soon as she's old enough because they seem to enjoy disappearing up to their room to play (I allowed this from 3ish, as long as I checked on them regularly).

girliefriend Wed 17-Oct-12 21:18:19

Does she go to nursery or pre school? My dd seemed to get the hang of playing independently once she started nursery age 2yo. It is something I have always actively encouraged tbh as I would stark raving mad playing with her all day blush but then I freely admit I am a terrible mother wink

happygilmore Thu 18-Oct-12 12:51:51

Oh I don't want to give the impression that I am some kind of uber mummy who sits there playing with her all day long, I really, really don't! Just feeling guilty for putting the tv on when I want some peace!

She used to play a lot better on her own, not sure why she wants me all the time now. I did laugh at Iwillonlyeatbeans throwing the toy in the bin, as that is the kind of thing I do when I'm at the end of my tether (that and hiding in the toilet) blush. But it's just a bit much sometimes.

She doesn't go to nursery just now, she used to go to a childminder but if anything I think she's improved for not going there (although I wasn't impressed with the standard of care there so it's probably not relevant).

Thanks for all the advice.

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