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4 year won't play on his own

(7 Posts)
Sleepymumma Sun 07-Jun-15 11:47:05

My lo turned 4 yesterday. He's an only child.
He just refuses to play on his own for any length of time at all. I feel horrible saying later later to him all the time but I have jobs I have to get done and I need him to occupy himself for a little while whilst I tidy up or cook tea. He constantly follows us round saying please play with me, when will you play with me.
Any tips on how to encourage him to entertain himself would be great.

Thanks in advance.

MrsNextDoor Sun 07-Jun-15 14:10:38

Well...I rarely play with my DC....I craft with them...take them to the park....or do things such as pond dipping but I just never and never have sat down to play on the floor with toys.

It might be bad of me...but they never ask and are perfectly happy. I do try to make time for each child to have around 20 minutes of one to one time devoted to them a day...but it's never playing...I just can't stand playing!

Maybe you should do something like call the time you spend with him "Our time together" and let him know "Right now is our time together...we've got twenty minutes to do what you like" and make sure he knows that's that...apart from park trips and swimming etc...then he will know he WILL get that time daily and might stop asking so much.

I personally don't think children need constant adult play time. They need some for sure...but it's good for them to entertain themselves...as long as has access to the garden and toys which interest him, he should be ok. Do you usually spend a lot of time playing with him?

Sleepymumma Sun 07-Jun-15 16:56:53

I try to encourage him to play on his own. I say 'why don't you play and mummy will watch you' but that just provokes a tantrum. He has access to all his toys but just doesn't want to play on his own.
I like the idea of the together time. I'll definitely use that.
We do end up playing with him a lot otherwise I'm not sure he'd play with any toys! He's really into super heroes but refuses to play with any of his figures unless his dad or I play with them with him.

DIYandEatCake Sun 07-Jun-15 21:41:12

I have a 4yo too, who has been like this in the past (her little brother is just getting big enough to play with properly now though which is great!) A couple of ideas - I read somewhere that some kids need a 'tank full' of attention before they'll want to play alone, this definitely worked for us. In the morning if I gave my dd my undivided, enthusiastic attention for half an hour or so, before doing anything else, she was much happier. I still notice this now, if we're up early enough for me to play with her before nursery it makes such a difference to her.
The other thing I do is say 'I'd love to play but I've got x, y and z jobs to do - if you help me we could play sooner, would you like to help me do x?' And be enthusiastic about getting her to join in. She'll either help or get bored and go off and play. Or whinge, but hey, it's worth a try.

Sleepymumma Sun 07-Jun-15 22:17:35

Thanks for your advice. Will give that a go too. I must admit I normally try and get my stuff done first so maybe switching things round will help.

MrsNextDoor Sun 07-Jun-15 22:51:25

My DC don't really play with toys...they tend to prefer things like being given a bowl of water to float things in....or being given a load of different "ingredients" and utensils and allowed to "experiment"....for eg. I give DD flour in a small cup, a mixing bowl, a small jug of water, some grass...whatever I've got...and a selection of spoons, sieves and so on and she just makes a lovely mess hmm I put down a big sheet or a plastic mat in the kitchen.

Mine have toys but now I think of it, they just don't play with them! What a waste of money! grin Painting is good too...

DorisLessingsCat Sun 07-Jun-15 22:53:01

He sounds a completely normal 4 yo.

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