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How can I enjoy playing more???

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
And don't tell me "let go of the guilt" or whatever... I really want & need to be able to play with him at least a little bit more, and without feel like I'm being tortured!!

I don't like to sit on the floor, it makes my back hurt. I don't like to play with toys, my brain doesn't work that way (and apparently neither does DS's, he seems to want to play with toys but never really knows what to do with them...) I get bored very easily and I have too many 'issues' to allow myself to be bored, it makes me depressed when I have time to think.

I love spending time with him otherwise, doing active things, roughhousing, taking walks, doing crafts & projects, reading to him... It's just when he asks me to PLAY with him, I cringe and try to get out of it ASAP.

I read Playful Parenting not long ago but for some reason it didn't help... we do a lot of the stuff in there already. What DS wants if for me to actually sit on the floor and kind of play/observe him, and he wants it to be with toys, and it seems like I'm supposed to be doing something but I can never quite figure out what and I just feel bored & miserable when I try. His way of playing is really weird so I can't use any of the tactics I use when I play with other kids (like his friends). I think there is something I'm missing that's making it unenjoyable.

So, everyone that loves playing with their kids... please share your wisdom!!!
post #2 of 24

Wow I can REALLY empathize with your situation. 

 

I have two herniated discs, so sitting or laying on the floor always makes me hurt.    I have a hard time bringing myself to play with him in a lot of ways.... and I have a baby, so the floor is the big option! 

 

Have you thought about things like table top toys, not sure how old your DS is, but blocks, legos, trains, etc....?

post #3 of 24

Yeah, to help your poor back out have him bring his toys up onto the table.

 

You said he plays "weirdly" with his toys.  Can you elaborate?  I'm trying to figure out what he might be wanting from you in play.

 

I'm also wondering how old he is?  What about playing board or card games as opposed to "playing with toys"?

 

What about playing in more of a "project" kind of way.  Like I sometimes like playing Playmobil with my kids, and the idea is to set up a really cool scene.  That's my part of the "project" (with their input).  Then I usually wander off and let them do the actual playing (making Playmobil dudes talk to each other... not my cup of tea).  Or you could come up with an idea of something to build out of Legos and work on it together.  Or you could put together a cool track for his trains.  Etc.

 

Another thought to make it less boring might be to put an audio book or some music on in the background for you guys to listen to while you play.  Maybe you could zone out sorting legos while enjoying your favourite tunes???

 

And yeah... sometimes playing with kids is boring.  That's not your fault - that's just the way it is!

post #4 of 24

subbing

 

 

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ahh music is a good idea, if he'll let me (sometimes he won't). We need to play more games, too, he does like board games & card games & puzzles but I keep forgetting about them...

He'll be 3 in a couple of months.

So about the weird playing... When he wants to play he'll ask me to come play with him and then he'll go sit in the living room (aka the playroom). I come join him and then he just sits there. Sometimes he'll pick up a toy or something, and then just wait. I guess he is waiting for me to direct the play, but I have no clue what to do with it. So say he has a toy cow... I might start making cow noises or try to talk to the cow. He might respond briefly, then we just sit there again. It's like pulling teeth, whereas when I play with one of his friends, she will take off from something simple and continue a pretend conversation or make up scenerios. Or say DS wants to play with cars. He'll pick up a car and drive it around for a minute... then just sits and waits. Even if I drive around my own car, it just kind of fizzles out after a minute or so. I really don't know what he wants from me. He is finally playing a bit on his own occasionally, even up to 5 minutes on his own, and when he does he usually either lines up all his toys, throws everything all over the room, or re-enacts something from real life or a book or a friend's play scenario that he observed. So I guess the thing is, he doesn't really use his imagination -- yeah, he does imaginary play, but it's just repeating stuff he's seen, rarely anything he created in his own mind, and I guess sometimes he just runs out of scenes to play out... and I'm not at all good at providing new ones. So maybe that's what I need help with most, coming up with entertaining scenarios for the toys (entertaining for both of us!!)
post #6 of 24

What about play where you don't have to come up with imaginary scenes!  Those are my favourite types of play anyway...

 

Like I mentioned upthread would he be into building stuff with blocks or legos, or pushing a train around a cool track?  Rolling marbles through a marble run?  it sounds like he doesn't really know exactly what he wants so maybe he'd be open to you directing the play?  It seems to me if playing in that way (making cows have a conversation, etc) is not *either* or your cups of tea then why bother!  He'll probably get more into that kind of stuff when he's a bit older (or not... maybe it's just not part of his personality).

post #7 of 24

I don't really love playing with my son in the way that HE always wants. He always wants to do imaginative play (on the floor, with his toys), and I sort of don't. I have a "play" part of me sort of missing....it's a control thing. I like doing things where I know the rules and can play a role (like a board game) but the imaginative play always was hard for me because HE wanted to take the lead and tell me what I was supposed to do, so although I sort of hated that, at least I knew what to do.

 

With your son, maybe he wants you to do it so that he can copy you, and yet you are stumped.....so why not just steal story lines from TV shows or movies or something. I used to do that when my son would ask me to make up a story every. single. night. when he was little. I kept running out of things that the characters could do in these stories, and then once I got the bright idea to just have them enact plots from things I've known all my life-- shows I've watched. So maybe you could do that.

 

Maybe your toy cow could be like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz. She's a nice little cow who is minding her own business one day in the field and whoosh, a big tornado comes into town and whisks her away to a really interesting and crazy place where all the cows are very very tiny and there's a yellow brick road and a fairy god-chicken that comes down in a bubble with a magic wand.....you get my drift.  If he's seen the show, that might not work....but maybe it will. In any case, you don't have to come up with a plot, you sort of know what the toys are going to say to each other, and if it's a show you really do remember from years ago, then it must have been a good one--so he will probably be enthralled with what you are doing! He'll think you are SO interesting!  LOL!!

 

Good luck; I know how hard it can be to try and play outside your comfort zone.

 

 

post #8 of 24

Hand puppets!  Seriously I hated play with me mama because i couldn't figure out what they really wanted.  Then one day we got these hand puppets and we would play with them everywhere or we would carry around a car and talk through our car.  Eventually they moved onto puzzles and chess... why oh why could a 5 yr old kick my butt at chess.  Or trains setting up the tracks was my job they just drove their trains through town and I would put on thomas the tank engine.  They loved that.  Oh and I have girls.

post #9 of 24

I'm not the playing type either.  I've never read the book you mentioned - so not sure if this is something they talk about.  

 

When it's inevitable that I have to play - I've found it helpful to set a time limit for each game/activity.  When done with one, I'll start another "session" of something else.  I'd gently guide/lead my DC to finish up an activity, even when they still want to play more.  Of course if it's not too painful for me, I'd let them continue.  It's still boring like .... in the midst of it, yes, sometimes I'd be watching the clock, but I know this particular session won't last forever ... wink1.gif

 

I also rotate the sets of toys/activites that are available to play with.  Old ones that have been hidden away become very exciting when taken out - when I need a break, I'll just get these out and then it's play-on-their-own time.

 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

Like I mentioned upthread would he be into building stuff with blocks or legos, or pushing a train around a cool track?  Rolling marbles through a marble run?  it sounds like he doesn't really know exactly what he wants so maybe he'd be open to you directing the play?  It seems to me if playing in that way (making cows have a conversation, etc) is not *either* or your cups of tea then why bother!  He'll probably get more into that kind of stuff when he's a bit older (or not... maybe it's just not part of his personality).
I suggest things like blocks & puzzles & trains but when he wants "to play" he apparently means something else & is not interested in those things... It seems like he wants the imaginary play but just isn't sure how to do it???
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

With your son, maybe he wants you to do it so that he can copy you, and yet you are stumped.....so why not just steal story lines from TV shows or movies or something. I used to do that when my son would ask me to make up a story every. single. night. when he was little. I kept running out of things that the characters could do in these stories, and then once I got the bright idea to just have them enact plots from things I've known all my life-- shows I've watched. So maybe you could do that.
OK I guess that's part of my problem, I rarely remember plots of stories and barely even understand the purpose of imaginary stories, it's like some kind of life-long mental block with me, so I don't watch shows or movies really (just things like cooking shows) and only read non-fiction which doesn't really lend itself well to playing with a 2yo lol. Maybe I can try remembering some of his simple stories, I tried reenacting The Little Engine That Could once & that went over well (but I was really bored by the repetitiveness of it).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Hand puppets!  Seriously I hated play with me mama because i couldn't figure out what they really wanted.  Then one day we got these hand puppets and we would play with them everywhere or we would carry around a car and talk through our car. 
Puppets are on our Christmas list, he might love them, but he might be scared of them, it's hit or miss with him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMunchkin View Post

I also rotate the sets of toys/activites that are available to play with.  Old ones that have been hidden away become very exciting when taken out - when I need a break, I'll just get these out and then it's play-on-their-own time.

Yeah, I've been trying to rotate toys/activities more, it does help!
post #11 of 24

Can you find one Mom with one child that he might like playing with?  Or maybe go to a Mom and tots type play group?  Other kids are often good at initiating this type of play.  You could let them come up with the idea and then you play with them along side your son so that he feels encouraged to play, too.  It would model both imagination and social skills and not leave you feeling bored, frustrated and socially isolated.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Ahh music is a good idea, if he'll let me (sometimes he won't). We need to play more games, too, he does like board games & card games & puzzles but I keep forgetting about them...
He'll be 3 in a couple of months.
 

Yeah, at that age they are starting to get the turn-taking and rules of a game finally!  So when he asks to play why not bring out a game or two and set it up?  Do you have games that he likes?   That's always been one of my favorite ways to play with the kids, once they were old enough.  I'm not much for the make-the-animals-talk stuff either.  Otherwise the easiest (and most fun for me) thing to do is take out a building toy - and I've picked up quite a few from the kids' resale shops over the years...  bristle blocks, lincoln logs, duplos, Mobilo, Kid K'nex.  If you're busy building something out of it, then you're playing.  :) 

post #13 of 24

What about having the animals act out the story from a book, with the book there for reference? You said the Thomas Tank Engine went over well. Like, a short board book that he knows well- have his toy be the main character and do whatever the book character is doing. You turn the page and make sound effects or something? I agree that playing with kids is often boring- my son is 14 months old and doesn't really "play" but wants me to show him things and doing funny stuff all day, and it gets exhausting.

post #14 of 24

I had another idea.  A way of playing that I do quite a bit with my kids and kids that I'm babysitting is to set a scene with the toys.  I am totally not into making stuffed animals talk to each other, but I am ok with taking a stuffed animal, talking about it ("what do you think: is this a boy dog or girl dog?  What do you think her name is?",etc.), then making a family for it (finding some other stuffies to be siblings and parents, maybe friends, cousins, whatever), then setting up a house for them - maybe making a house out of a cardboard box, finding bits of fabric to lay down as their "beds", etc.  Then maybe the stuffy family needs a pool to go swimming in (well, this works better with plastic animals, lol), or a store to shop at, or whatever....

 

HTH!

post #15 of 24

Honestly, I outsource imaginative play to her father and other friends who like to do that sort of thing.  My parents did not do imaginative play with us, and like you, I feel like someone is torturing me when I have to do imaginative play.  (And my brother and I had many elaborate imaginative play games when we were kids.  We made whole worlds.  But my parents were not the slightest bit involved in that.... nor would we have wanted them to be.) 

 

I do tell stories and sometimes we act them out with little soft figures that we have made. 

 

I also enjoy crafting, so I make a lot of materials for her to play with, and she likes to imitate me doing that - making things, I mean.

 

We also pretend to talk on the telephone.

 

That's about it.

 

What about pretending to do everyday activities?  I like the idea of acting out a favorite book.  That's alot of what DP does - he riffs on stories we've read or movies that we have watched.  THey also have two "guys" talk to each other.  The guys could be anything from animal figures to their hands to a ball of lint.

 

Another cool thing is we take a parent child class together.  The teacher tells a story every week, the same story for several weeks in a row, and acts it out with figures.  Then the figures and scenery go on the shelf for the kids to play with.  The kids seem to like that because then they have a starting place for what to do with the figures.

post #16 of 24

DH also has a bad back and can't sit for long on the floor. So when DS age 7 wants to play, we have DS sit with the toys on the bed and DH pulls up a chair along side the bed. This way they are both eye level but DS gets the free movement feel of being on a surface and DH is sitting comfortably. They usually play legos together.

 

Or we use a card table and all sit at it, so neither of us are crawling around on the wood floors. Ouch!

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


I suggest things like blocks & puzzles & trains but when he wants "to play" he apparently means something else & is not interested in those things... It seems like he wants the imaginary play but just isn't sure how to do it???
 


 

Ask him questions.  If he's holding a cow, ask him, "What is the cow's name?" "what is the cow doing?"  "Does cow have a baby?"  Where is cows baby?  etc.  And see if that takes you anywhere.

 

My ds always likes it when I tell a story about him, or tell a story about one of his toys doing something we did recently.  It's easy, and kind of funny to see what he says when we're done. lol

post #18 of 24

A key thing for me when I'm doing playing that isn't fun for me is to set the timer.  If I know there's a set endpoint only 20 or 30 minutes away, it's easier to put up with.  I have a terrific imagination and can easily think up scenarios to act out with little figures, and I spent a ton of time in imaginative play when I was a kid - but I really don't enjoy doing imaginative play with my kids.  I just don't think that's the kind of thing that can be fun for grown-ups, at least not if the storyline is anything that would appeal to little kids.  As an alternative, how about play-dough (you can let him help you make it first), painting, or playing outside with water/sand/mud/sticks/gravel/snow? 

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

Ask him questions.  If he's holding a cow, ask him, "What is the cow's name?" "what is the cow doing?"  "Does cow have a baby?"  Where is cows baby?  etc.  And see if that takes you anywhere.

LOL OK so when I do this he echos back, "What IS the cow's name?" or "What IS he doing?" If he doesn't already know the answer (in other words, if we haven't played the exact same thing with the exact same script before) then he just keeps turning the questions back on me. He's a funny kid. smile.gif

Lots of good ideas here, and I do have to play on the bed or at a table more because that always goes much better. It's hard to be creative when you're uncomfortable & in pain!! We do a lot of other activities so at least he is getting a lot of attention & interaction & stimulation, even if I'm not good with imaginary play. I will try some of the things mentioned here. I guess really I feel badly because he wants a sibling... he keeps talking about it & he really does so much better with other kids to play with. (We've been TTC #2 basically since he was born.) So maybe part of it is guilt & the feeling that I need to fill in the 'sibling' role since he's still an only child. Maybe that's silly....
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


LOL OK so when I do this he echos back, "What IS the cow's name?" or "What IS he doing?" If he doesn't already know the answer (in other words, if we haven't played the exact same thing with the exact same script before) then he just keeps turning the questions back on me. He's a funny kid. smile.gif
 


My ds used to do that, lol.  Then I would just put on a silly face and say, "I don't know - I thought you knew!"  and then try to get him laughing.  It helped get more creative, and just a few days ago he came up with his teddy bears name all by himself (kind of, he named the bear after the cat "because I like Sam the cat!")

 

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