I would like to trade notes since I believe it's particularly hard with long winters and an only child who yet can't do solo activities like read a book etc.
Anyone here without TV and an only child?
Yep. My kid's only 2, and I'm at home with him...it's a challenge to keep him occupied when I need to focus on something else. One thing we do is rotate his toys, so he only ever has a few things out at once. Besides making it easier to keep our tiny house tidy, I've noticed two other benefits to this method...he seems to play more creatively (pretending, narrating, constructing) when there is less clutter, and when we pull out something "new" that he hasn't seen in awhile he's occupied for awhile getting reacquainted. Both things help keep boredom at bay...on the good days, anyway...
We have long winters here too. What's your favorite way to keep your only busy?
Our motto (or mantra) has been that boredome is good!
Having an only is so challenging at times - we've vowed to not "spoil" our son with things or with attentions (not that we don't give him plenty!!). We just figure that it's ok for him to be alone &/or bored from time to time.
Usually, he finds something to keep himself occupied or he helps us with chores & work around the house.
BUT there are a few select shows & documentaries that we allow on rainy days. We limit it to 30 minutes (45 tops) & try to watch with him. All the shows we allow encourage imaginary play & usually keep him occupied far beyond the watching. We started this at around 3. This happens 2-3 times a week, sometimes less.
I don't like him watching even just this small amount but this is the sort of compromise we have come up with in our house. Also, I don't think it's a result of having an only child, just our take on what is an acceptable amount media engagement.
How old is your child? Any specific only-child challenges you're facing?
I think our biggest "solution" to avoiding media & raising an only child has been to get our son involved in our day-to-day activities. Time to garden? He's out there with us (with child-sized tools). He takes care of the recycling. He cooks with us. Etc.
Your suggestions reminded me of our chore jar. I don't remember what gave us the idea, but I wrote down chores that my children can do alone or help me with, cut them into strips so it's one chore per strip, and put them in a rinsed out clear plastic applesauce jar. My almost-6-year-old son is great at this sometimes; in my family it can turn into a competition to see who can do more chores but it could work in your families too. If you need ideas for chores to write down, I can post them; I'm sure you have plenty of your own.