Can your kids play independently

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by dtomecko, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    I was just curious because my kids are very different. My daughter likes to have her own space at times, and can spend hours entertaining herself with activities that require more patience (coloring, writing letters, lite brite, dressing and undressing her dolls). My son is almost 4 and I still can't tell what his interests are. He always has to be playing with his sister and his sister's things. I can't complain because they play well together without much intervening by me. But I worry he's not developing his own independence, creativity, self-confidence, etc by learning to play by himself. If she goes off to do something alone he gets mad or comes to find me. But he doesn't usually find something to do by himself. We do quiet time and I'm trying to force them to have some space apart. My daughter does great with this. My son will usually sit and stare into space and eventually fall asleep. His room is full of toys, and before I leave him I try to give him ideas of what he can play with. But he just doesn't. And I hate when he falls asleep during quiet time, because he's really crabby when he wakes up from his short nap (or any nap, for that matter - if you remember all my previous posts about his sleep issues from baby on up!). But these days he does better without it. Lately I've been making them spend a half hour apart, and then the last half hour they can play together in one of their rooms. He cannot wait to get to that second half where he gets to play in her room. All they do together is imaginative stuff - a million different situations where they make their babies go someplace or do something. And he seems to have the more dominant personality - he usually comes up with the ideas they're going to do. So I don't know why he can't come up with them when he's by himself. As far as other "boy" toys, he really doesn't get into anything. I can't think of anything that he's really into other than music and singing and he talks NON STOP all day long. Seriously NON STOP. But he just won't play by himself!

    Is this normal? What do your kids do?
  2. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    That sounds similar to my kids, and they're 8. Sarah is sooo content to read, play with her dolls and just be by herself. She needs her space.

    Timothy, I have always said, treats people like they're the toys. He's pretty content doing whatever, as long as it's with someone. And he doesn't stop talking either. Even when he's the only one in the room, he's still talking and narrating. He really enjoys team sports. He has finally started enjoying playing by himself things like basketball and soccer because he pretends he's beating all of his friends. He also enjoys our wii because it gives him that interaction and competition he seems to crave.

    As for advice, just keep in mind that they are different people with different needs. Buy some earplugs for yourself. Make friends with whoever runs the local kids sports programs at you YMCA (our programs start at 3). And keep making your son practice playing by himself. It's a learned skill that comes more easily to some kids than others.

  3. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    Thanks, this makes me feel better! This does sound a lot my kids. My son will talk and sing by himself all the time too. We have a Fisher Price basketball hoop in the basement, and that is one thing he seems to be into (not by himself though!). He also likes playing baseball outside (of course that involves me playing with him) but maybe sports will be his thing, once he grows into it a little more.
  4. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm very lucky;mine play alone all the time. I have one who if you let him, would watch movies all day long. My other DS is happy playing in his room. Right now one is with me as I type in my bedroom and the other one is in his room reading.

    Up until I took baby gates down at the age of 3 (they are 4 now), they were stuck with each other all day long. I remember when I took them down and they realized they could go anywhere without being stuck with their brother. :clapping: :thanks:

    A week ago I moved them into seperate bedrooms and that has also added to their independence.
  5. NicoleLea

    NicoleLea Well-Known Member

    My girls do equally well playing together or playing alone. They prefer to spend most of their time together but occasionally I will walk into the play room and find one playing alone, or see one sitting at the table coloring by herself.

    I wouldn't worry too much about your son wanting her company. Some kids are just more social than others while some prefer being by themselves.
  6. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    Yes they can, but Audrey does tend to want someone with her at all times.. She refuses to go outside alone.. and if we are all outside, refuses to go in without someone in with her. When they were younger, your kids' age, she was fine with playing independently.
  7. mommylaura

    mommylaura Well-Known Member

    I know this isn't exactly your situation, but my oldest son never played well on his own either, and he didn't have a twin - he had me and my husband! He always wanted us to play with him, and seemd to have a hard time organizing play alone. He started to do it right before his fourth birthday, and now at 6, plays very well on his own. Still, I look at my girl twin and even at 2 she can organize her own activities so well. So there is still hope for your little guy to play "on his own".
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