Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Toddler won't play by thread?!?

(13 Posts)
BotBotticelli Tue 27-Oct-15 14:28:04

Anyone else got a toddler who cannot/will not entertain themselves?? Fancy joining a support thread to moan/commiserate/swap tips??

I am at my wits end with ds1 (2.11yo). He just refuses to play by himself - given his way he would have me playing interminable, tedious games of cars and dinosaurs on the floor for 12 sodding hours a day!

Don't get me wrong, I adore him, but playing these imaginary games drives me crackers. I have tried to interest him in other things: crafts, drawing, play doh etc but the only thing he wants to do is make up crazy imaginative games with his little figures. And he cannot seem to do it by himself.

I have used a timer and tell him when the bell rings I am going to do the laundry or whatever. This works in a sense. But he just follows me around whilst I do the laundry and the moment j finish its "come back and play now mummy?"


Will he get better at amusing himself as he gets older??

I have a 2 month old baby as well which is not helping the issue but this behaviour far pre dates the baby's arrival. Ds1 has always been like this! He was a very demanding baby and continues to be so as a toddler!

Littlef00t Tue 27-Oct-15 19:43:14

Any chance you could use the timer the other way round, so timer for 2 mins where he has to play by himself while you empty the dishwasher, he has to stay and play not follow you, and extend the time?

I appreciate it's unlikely, my dd is fine if I'm pottering downstairs, but try to pop upstairs and she somehow loses the ability to climb stairs or play by herself.

purpleme12 Tue 27-Oct-15 21:47:54

I don't have advice I have a toddler who won't play by herself at all as well so I know how it feels

Senpai Wed 28-Oct-15 03:02:58

DD (19mo) is very much off in her own world and loves playing by herself, will even kick me out of her room so she can play alone. She'll surface for air when she wants attention then get back to it. I really have no advice though. She's just naturally like this and has been since a baby.

I think at it's really down to temperament at this age.

HeadDreamer Wed 28-Oct-15 04:18:05

DD1 still won't play by herself at 4. But at this older age, I get her to help with laundry, dishes etc. She likes helping with housework smile. Also now that DD2 is one, she sometimes play with her sister. Your baby will grow up and the two of them can keep each other company.

LovelyWeatherForDucks Wed 28-Oct-15 04:57:03

I have a 3.1 yo like this! From the moment he wakes (5am currently!) it's "play with me mummy". Have a newborn too so I think it's partly to do with that - but obviously I can't always play! He also won't let me out his sight at the moment, if I nip into a different room it's "where are you mummy? Come back see me!". Exhausting! (And I find most of it really boring!!) I do try and warn him ie I'll play with you until X, I'll play with you after X, but if I'm not actively playing he is following me round hanging off my legs etc! He CAN play by himself, and got much better at it til he realised the baby is here to stay!

Enjoyingthepeace Wed 28-Oct-15 06:59:17

My ds was like that. Still is at 5, but much better. Dd is the opposite.

I play for a bit, then I fairly abruptly get up. It stops the negotiation. I just say I have important work to do, whether that be laundry, cooking or sitting on the up as for twenty minutes with a coffee. He follows me around but I ignore. I make sure that when he then settled down to play by himself, a few minutes later I will make a point of asking if I can play with him for a little but.

beela Thu 29-Oct-15 16:32:05

Yep, my 5 yo DS is the same. He will watch tv by himself but that's about it. DD is brilliant on her own, will potter about happily for ages. They will play together now though (she is 18m). Yesterday morning they went into his bedroom together and played while I had a 'lie-in' (6.30am - 6.45am!).

ExBallerina Thu 29-Oct-15 16:41:40

My DD, 3, is exactly like this. As an only child this is going to be difficult. She loves preschool because she has so many people to play with and things to do.

I don't want to be Anna from Frozen any fucking more thlangry

BotBotticelli Thu 29-Oct-15 17:31:00

Ha! Because I have a boy I am always being Spider-Man or a made-up nemesis of Spider-Man rather than Anna/Elsa....but yes it fucking sucks!!

Am feeling a bit better reading your responses: I thought I was the only person who felt like this and was sure it was because I had done something "wrong" with ds! But I wonder if it's just his personality??

Really hope it gets better as he gets older - and yes, hoping that he and ds2 will play together once the baby is a bit older.

Playitagainsam Sat 31-Oct-15 07:52:36

Oh god OP I was about to post about this exact same thing. My DD is 3.5 and seems totally incapable of playing by herself on any level. Drives me up the wall. She also has the attention span of a gnat so when I do get sucked in its literally 30 seconds on one thing before moving on to something else (equally as dull as the first thing). I also have a 5 month old DS and I have to hope beyond hope that one day he will help keep her entertained - poor boy doesn't yet realise that's one of the main reasons for his existence.
My DD resists any attempts to get her to play on her own - even if she can see that I am making lunch for example, she will still sit there shouting 'mummy come play with meeeeeee!' in spite of me having told her repeatedly that I can't. I saw something the other day that said 'parenting is....saying 'for fucks sake' before responding to your name'. Yup!

geekymommy Sat 07-Nov-15 21:32:43

My 3 yo DD is like this. My dad is, too- he doesn't seem to want to do anything by himself. I remember my sister complaining about that with her older DD, too. I was the complete opposite of that, so I find it hard to deal with.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sun 08-Nov-15 01:57:25

My DH has spent much of today playing like this with our 3 year old. He said to me 'how do you manage to do this all day?' to which I replied I don't . It's learned behaviour I'm afraid and i simply couldn't do it, because who would do all the stuff I do when I'm at home? yes, he get my attention, and I do play with him, but not endlessly. And yet all DH gets is 'daddy play with me!' and so he does. I suppose the way to stop it is, like pp have said, things like timers etc, because you're trying to unlearn a behaviour. Rewards, praise etc. Make other attention more exciting and play less so, such as cooking, crafts, stories etc, so they become preferable and DC would prefer to have your time for those activities than dinosaurs/spiderman games. My DS loves helping, so he'll help me fold washing etc, but then get bored and disappear off to play after a while.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: