So my DS (4 1/2) has really never liked toys and has never played independently with them. He enjoys playing with them if there is a friend or adult there to interact with also, but doesn't seem to enjoy them on his own. Which is fine, except that all he seems to want to do if I'm not actively engaging him is watch cartoons lately. We used to have a really strict cartoon policy around here - there was none until he was two and then about 30 minutes or less. Recently though, I have relaxed things a bit. For one, my DH has been out of town and also grandma got Teletoon, which means that my DS has been watching scads of cartoons over there and has different expectations. I have no issue telling my kid "no", but then he just seems to putter around and ask me a million annoying questions until I force him to go "play" in his room . So, my questions are two-fold:
One - how do I encourage him to develop his own interests and pursue them indepently? (In a more positive manner than physically removing him and threatening no cartoons at all.)
Two - what do I do about the whole cartoon thing? Do I just abolish them from the house? (Please don't tell me this is what needs to happen. I am so not a morning person and I need that 45 minutes of peace to wake up.)
One thing that DS used to spend a lot of time doing by himself was little art projects - cutting, gluing, etc. He really wasn't interested in anything tidy though - just crazy messy projects that sprawled across his room So I had to put the art supplies in a less accessible place and now he needs to ask for them. I would put up with the mess for the sake of the distraction but there is also a wild 1 1/2 year old running around and I don't want her to poke her eye out with the scissors or choke on a bead. DS seems to be asking for the art supplies less and less these days anyhow - I feel like his brain is being eaten up by cartoons!
Yes, yes, yes. Our E is about to turn 4, and is NOT good with solo play. He is a social creature and has a hard time playing independently. The second we get home he wants to knock on the neighbors door and see if their two kids (6&3) can play. We did just get an outdoor trampoline and I think that is helping burn energy and keep him occupied. Other than that, we just suck it up and spend a lot of one-on-one time with him. So, if you find something that works, let me know!
Also, I'm ashamed to admit it, but we do let some cartoons find their way onto the TV so we can get dinner ready, clean etc... Yes, I know, we're going to hell. We'll need to wean the TV when we get closer to school....eek.
A is really extroverted like that, unlike all the rest of us. Mr. S, N, and I are all very introverted and sometimes A can be too much for us. He *cannot* take being alone most of the time. And I mean that he almost always needs to be *with* or *on* one of us at all times. It is really difficult to enforce boundaries with him, because he can't fathom that anybody doesn't want to be hugged on constantly or ever be alone. Ever. And he gets really upset if one of us suggests that he play or do something by himself. I allow a lot more tv and computer time than I should, mostly in order to cope. Computer time is the only time that A will leave N alone (whichever one is playing, A is usually okay with that) and he'll usually watch Curious George or something by himself.
Well, I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has this issue. He just makes me feel so mean for not wanting to talk to him every damn minute of the day (and talking to him takes extra effort because he has a speech impediment). I've been thinking of getting a mouse for the computer and looking at that as another source of entertainment for him. Not sure if he'd actually be that interested though.
The computer saved my ass during my very difficult second pregnancy. Little B was only 2 1/2 when I got pregnant, and shortly thereafter I was put on a PICC line to deliver my antiemetics. Unfortunately they made me very sleepy, which isn't good when you have a toddler to look after and a house to run.
Luckily, B was already interested in the computer, and had figured out the mouse already. He seemed primed for some preschool type computer games. We found this awesome Dr. Seuss one that he played a LOT. There were several others that he enjoyed, especially the I Spy games for the computer. Every once in a while he'll pop one in, I think for the sake of nostalgia, since he has long outgrown them, seeing as he's turning 11 in the fall.