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How to get 4 year old to play on his own.

(8 Posts)
sharond101 Sun 24-Jul-16 14:38:53

How do I get my 4 year old to play on his own. He always needs me to play with him and as soon as I stop all he does is ask, "Mummy when will you play with me?"

Davinaaddict Sun 24-Jul-16 16:24:33

Does he ever play on his own? What do you answer when he asks?

My now 6yo has always been great at playing on his own, so our 4yo was a bit of a shock when she came along. We're lucky in that she has her briother to play with, but Monday's have always been challenging as he's at school. I've just encouraged her to play on her own for just a few minutes at a time, and build it up, with praise for the time she's been playing on her own.

Ive also got her involved in what I'm doing (sorting clothes, tidying up etc), so that while we're still together, it's not always about her, and that she understands that there are things that need doing around he house and we can't play all the time.

sharond101 Sun 24-Jul-16 20:15:40

It's constant.Always needing me or someone else to play with him. Very occasionally he will play by himself but after 5 minutes he is asking when I will play with him. Responses vary really, "Mummy is busy preparing lunch just now." "Mummy needs to sort x, y, z so we can do x, y, z." "Sometimes you have to play on your own, I am sorry." He accepts this for a few minutes then starts back asking when someone will play with him then plays the guilt trip card and says things like, "I wish Dad was here." "When am I going to Gran's house?" "When will Dad be home?"

BotBotticelli Sun 24-Jul-16 21:08:00

My 3.5yo DS is like this too. I have been beating myself up for months (well years!) thinking this is something I am doing wrong. But I am slowly coming to the realisation that this is just who he is. He is not gonna want me to come to the cinema with him when he is 14, is he?? It's massively draining and tiring and annoying at the moment (especially with 11mo DS2 on the scene - who incidentally is a very different child and 'plays' better on his own now at 11mo than ds1 ever has!!). But it can't last forever, right?!

I am gently encouraging him to play on his own for 10 mins here or there. It seems to work better later in ten day - in the mornings he definitely seems to NEED a good solid input from me of 30-40 mins playing on the floor. If I do this whilst the baby naps be is then much more likely to leave me along later for 10 mins whilst I cook the lunch etc.

I have to say he is fine and much better when we go out - he will happily bimble around the park/soft play/play groups without needing much or any input from me so I am afraid to say we go out twice a day morning and afternoon just so i can avoid being stuck in the house with his flipping whining!

I have been thinking of setting up a visual timetable on the wall - some sort of spinning wheel affair like a clock with simple pictures to show him when it's "mummy play time", when it's "mummy chores time" and when it's "mummy rest on the sofa time" (wishful thinking!).

BotBotticelli Sun 24-Jul-16 21:10:02

Oh and you will probably get lots of 😱 Responses on here from mum's saying "oh but my 2yo has always played happily in his own from birth" which will make you feel massively depressed like you're getting something wrong.

Ignore them!

They have lucked out and got kids who are happy to play self sufficiently from the get-go. Yours (and mine) are not like that and it's nothing you're doing wrong

sharond101 Sun 24-Jul-16 21:30:22

I always think it's something I've done wrong but my one year old like your 11 month old is often content to play alone and I've done nothing different. We spend alot of time out of the house as it's easier to amuse him. I really wonder how much other Mums play with their children?

RabbitSaysWoof Sun 24-Jul-16 21:57:40

I have been struggling with this lately, my ds was better at playing alone at one and two, now hes four he wants me to play with him so much more. When I say no, he says "I dont love you" "I don't want to be with you, I only love Daddy".
We used to have 5 days a week together, now with nursery and Dad's house we have 3, so by the time we've seen a few friends and been for a few walks and a swim every week that leaves much less down time, he's forgotten how to play alone and I think all of the things he used to play with alone he has tired of.
I've decided he can have half an hour each day during these summer holidays when I will make myself busy, I work from home and usually do my admin in the evenings, so yesterday I told him I need to do some work, and took my lap top upstairs for half an hour, all was quiet and I thought he must be playing nicely, I planned to go down and join him without him asking me to if he did well. So after a quiet half an hour I came downstairs to see what he was playing with, to find him asleep on the sofa, he must have actually bored himself to sleep. Today was much more successful, after a huffy puffy protest sitting next to me I went upstairs again and he went to he's old bedroom to re discover some of he's old toys, I've decided while he is at he's dads this week I will squirrel away a few of he's toys he has forgotten about into tote bags to give him when I wan't to have some space do my work.
My friends children of the same age and younger love playing in their bedrooms for hours.

Coconut0il Sun 24-Jul-16 23:00:16

My DS1 was just like this, he always wanted me to play with him. I'm not very good at imaginative play so we did lots of crafts, painting, making, role play games like schools and shops. He's always done well at school and I like to think all the time we spent together helped even though at the time I often wished he'd play by himself for a bit. He's 12 now and is always doing his own thing.

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