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Does anyone else's toddler not play independently?

(15 Posts)
Gateau Mon 13-Jul-09 09:09:46

I started a similiar thread to this last week, but am writing again following a conversation I had with some friends at the weekend.
My little boy (now 2) has never played much by himself. At most he will play for a few minutes and then come to find me. As a result, it's really hard to get stuff done around the house and the only way I can get anything done is to switch the telly on for him. I don't feel good about this, but I have tried loads of times to encourage him to play when I'm busy, but it simply does not work.
I do wish I could dedicate more time to playing with him in the house, but as I work three days a week there are always chores to be done. That said, I have found there is only so much time you can spend playing with a two-year-old's toys before it gets tedious. hwn I was chatting to my friends at the weekend they said their two-year-old play quite happily by themselves, leaving them to get on with whatever. And they don't have to have the tv on much, so that makes me feel I'm a pretty shite Mum. I have always wondered why people are happy to be at home for long strecthes and now I know why! But with me, because my DS always wants to be played with all the time, I find days at home drag, so we get out and about as much as possible, which we both really love. I feel really bad though that I don't really enjoy being at home for long periods. However if he was happy to potter by himself more, I think I would.
Is anyone else in a similiar position?

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Mon 13-Jul-09 09:17:13

When my ds was just 2 he wasn't so good at self-amusement. I like to think it's a sign of a very intelligent child, that he needs a lot of stimulation! wink

We found that he really loves letters and numbers, and drawing, so bought him a magnetic drawing board and an Aquamat, along with a couple of drawing pads and felt tips and crayons. I write out the alphabet out for him, and his numbers and he spends, ooh, at least 10 minutes looking at them and learning them!

I think if you find what makes your ds tick, something he really enjoys, be it role play, arts and crafts, shape sorting, block building or whatever, and then interact with him for 5 minutes or so then leave him to it, he will be absorbed in whatever it is long enough for you to do the washing up!

Do you have a safe garden that he can play in relatively unsupervised? My ds likes to have chalk and draw on the path, or "paint" pebbles with water, as well as playing on his trampoline and slide.

I must say that the one thing that really helped ds learn to play alone was the arrival of his little sister! A bit of an extreme measure but now dd is nearly 5 months and ds is 2 and a half they do actually play together and keep each other amused!

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Mon 13-Jul-09 09:19:14

Ooh, meant to add, if you find something you both enjoy (for us it's building train tracks blush) then toddler play time is not nearly so tedious.

And also - don't feel guilty about having the telly on. I quite often put a DVD on as background for ds so he can play and watch a film at the same time. Probably not very good for his neural development (or something) but hey - I need clean clothes! wink

Gateau Mon 13-Jul-09 09:30:12

Thank you TAFKA for your helpful comments. DS will have a little brother or sister in Oct/Nov, so that gives me hope!

FaintlyMacabre Mon 13-Jul-09 09:30:59

After several falls from a kitchen chair we have just bought this.
It is quite expensive but I am so pleased with it. DS (20 months) will happily stand in it in the kitchen for 20-30 minutes- rearranging the cutlery drawer or spice rack, playing with playdough or stirring mixtures of beans and lentils etc. I can get on with dinner etc while providing a basic level of interaction.
Otherwise, what TAFKA... said.

rookiemater Mon 13-Jul-09 09:38:03

Hi DS wasn't very much into amusing himself at the age of 2, but since he has turned 3 is much better at playing with his toys for periods of time. 2 is a hard age I think.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Mon 13-Jul-09 09:41:54

Congrats on your pregnancy! grin

MamaVoo Mon 13-Jul-09 09:58:35

I have a 19mo ds who also won't play by himself for any length of time, so you're not alone. He's now taken to throwing a tantrum if I refuse to play with him and I really don't know how to handle it. We also spend quite a bit of the day out of the house (and the telly is on alot blush). Will be watching thread with interest for ideas on how to handle this.

BirdyArms Mon 13-Jul-09 09:59:50

My ds1 was just like this. About the only thing he'd like to do for more than a couple of minutes was washing up, fine but messy and obviously he can't do it all day. Try to concentrate on things that you don't mind doing too much, for me this was train track and reading books. Also he used to have really long baths whilst I sat on the loo and read a book. The obvious advice is to let him help you with chores but we have never cracked this.

Now aged 4 he is quite a bit better and has a 2 yo brother who he plays with all the time - so great that you are producing a playmate for him! I too was worried that I was letting him watch too much TV but this isn't a problem now at all, he still watches a little but he would rather do lots of other things. To be honest I don;t know what I would have done without TV when ds2 arrived. DS1 is a very sociable little boy, he still does want me to play with him a lot but the plus side is that he gets on great with other children and I'm sure he's going to really enjoy school.

So to summarise it will get better but it will probably take a while!

HuffwardlyRudge Mon 13-Jul-09 10:01:26

I don't know any toddlers who play by themselves for any length of time.

Acinonyx Mon 13-Jul-09 19:17:12

I don't know many - but one or two who do. Most do for a very short time. Mine - at 2 - would not at all and it was incredably wearing even though I also worked 3 days/week. Now at 4 dd plays occaisionally for up to 20 minutes, usually drawing/colouring, but it's unpredicatable and unreliable. I find it very hard going and prefer to go out part of the day.

Gateau Tue 14-Jul-09 09:26:54

Glad to hear so many others are in the same boat; I thought I was the only one! As I said before, most of my friends' toddlers play by themselves for some time and don't watch much telly -and I'm quite envy. Of course I like to play with him, but having some time to do chores WITHOUT him watching telly would be nice.

Mercy Tue 14-Jul-09 09:36:01

Neither of mine did at that age either, it's quite normal ime.

In fact dd was still doing parallel play when she was 4.

tryingtoleave Tue 14-Jul-09 10:02:13

I'm actually finding that as DS gets older (he's just turned three) I have to play with him more and more. Before he would push a train around on his own, now I have to be a train. The only things he will do on his own besides tv are 'doing the dishes' (making a huuuge mess in the sink) and licking the leftover batter out of the mixing bowl. He'll spend ages doing that - I find myself doing a lot of baking blush.

inzidoodle Tue 14-Jul-09 11:10:30

Hi, I find this with my DD (20months) but have overcome some of it. If I am cleaning bathrooms/bedroom etc I give her a cloth and she happily helps and its a great game for her. I gave her an old clean make up brush which she dusts with and she adores helping me hoover! I used to get so frustrated trying to do chores with her crying/clinging but once I made it a game its much better. For cooking etc I put her in her high chair with books and crayons - I keep them just for this time so she doesnt bore of them!

I find after all the 'playing' is done she will quietly sit with bricks/plastic cups and build towers or watch a bit telly with a biscuit and I get some mumsnet/cup of tea time LOL


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