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6 year old with almost no independence, really need some advice

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

He doesn't want to do anything by himself. He is an only child. He will not go out in our backyard alone to play. He will not go out front to playbasket ball alone. He wants me to sit out there and watch him or play with him. A lot of times I do play with him but sometimes I can't. He is OK at puzzles, not a whiz but not bad, yet he will not work on one alone, even one that is simple for him. He doesn't want to go to a different room in the house by himself! Our house is not that big. He used to refuse, I would have to go and be with in sight, like in the hallway or the doorway. It took four months to get him to walk through the cafeteria and down the hall to his classroom alone. His homework is usually easy enough for him, sometimes he needs a little help or clarification but even the easy assignments he wont work on, unless I'm sitting next to him watching. He can not entertain himself without the tv or the computer, at all. I know he watches too much tv. I think it's a vicious cycle although I'm not sure which came first. Does he watch the tv and play on the computer because he is lacking in whatever he needs to be more independent or is he not able to occupy himself  because he has too much screen time or some of both?


I really need help with ideas to help him become a little more independent. He gets frustrated easily with tasks and gives up. I don't think my expectations are unrealistic, I would like him to occupy himself for short periods of time and complete simple tasks independently.

post #2 of 4

I don't have an answer for you, but I know how you feel.  My oldest was an only child until the age of 10 and she was the stuck to me like glue.  Would NOT wander off and play alone.  I was so deeply grateful when she began to love reading and I could have a few minutes of peace (did I mention that she is a talker, too?  :-)  )

Now she is 16.5 and a major people person.  She is very independent from me (but still loves to hang out and talk) and is happiest in a crowd of people.  It turns out, well, she is just not a lone wolf, but as an only child she was a little bored, a little lonely.  I am a quiet and sort-of-solitary person.  She just isn't.  But she is happy and healthy and well-adjusted and none-the-worse-for-wear.


Good luck, hopefully your son will grow out of it as he grows and finds a peer group to get that stimulation from.

post #3 of 4

Does he have any friends to play with outside?  My oldest is 7 and he is independent in that he will go outside and jump on the trampoline or explore the woods or build on his fort, but he comes inside frequently bc he would much rather have a companion with him.  I would start with giving him a goal.  Have something prepared that you want him to do and give him instructions on how to accomplish it and then let him go at it.  For ex:  Ask him to go outside and collect  sticks or rocks.  Some kids(like me) just don't like being alone.  I grew up with a twin so even now I prefer doing things with others.  It's usually a lot more fun!  If he wants company, what about having an "exploring" playdate where the 2 can explore the outdoors alone?  With regards to indoor things, my kids still need a  lot of help and guidance with things to do and will not just go off and read or do a puzzle.  If I sit down with them, yes they will do it, but otherwise they don't seem to have any desire to do it.

post #4 of 4

I don't have any advice, but I could have written your post word for word.  My 5 1/2 year old is exactly the same way. Actually, it took me several months to get him to play outside while I sat on the deck and watched - before that, he wouldn't even play without me being in the yard playing with him. 


Same with going into another room.  Only recently, if there was a toy in another room that he wanted, I got him to get it by himself by saying I'll count to 10 really loudly and you should be back here before I finish.  It worked and now he'll say "I need to get that truck, mom, count to 10." and he'll run to get it.

But, he still won't hang out in a different room by himself.  And really all I have to do is sit there and he'll sometimes play by himself, but I have to be sitting there (of course, he will usually want me to play with him, but we're working on independent play).


Sorry I don't have any other advice, as you can tell I'm struggling with this too. 

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