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We aren't our children's playmates and entertainment... - Page 2

post #21 of 55
Ok, so I think the idea is "you're not your child(ren)'s personal entertainer", not necessarily "you shouldn't ever entertain your children, even if you want to".

That makes sense.
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
What if you have only one child?
This is my question as well. I was almost an only child (much older siblings who were already out of the house when I was small), and I remember being very lonely and tired of playing solitary games. I yearned for my mom to sit and play a board or card game with me.

My son does direct much of his own craft and play time, but when he wants to play Cariboo, or asks my help to play grocery shopping (he wants to be the shopper sometimes and the checker other times), I'm there to play with him whenever I can.

--Olive
post #23 of 55
I don't know but my 4 y.o. is alone during the school days & he's totally independent. BUt, then he plays w/brother in the eve.
post #24 of 55
I am blessed with twin boys who play wonderful, imaginative games with each other and rarely ask me to participate, for which I'm very thankful! I love to spend time with them, but it has to be doing something like reading, playing cards, doing a craft, playing store, etc. - I just can't get my mind into totally freeform "pretend mode". And if I try, I never do it right anyway , according to them.
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
What if you have only one child?
I was an only child until I was 13. For the most part, I played alone, and was very imaginative in my play. I had my 2 best friends (my dog and the tree in the front yard ) and I would do alot of stuff alone. I did occasionally want to play a board game, and I would ask my mom, and we'd usually play it. She also involved me in the garden, cooking dinner, and washing dishes. I would think it would be okay to play with your child if they ask you, and then just try to play a secondary part in the play, letting them lead.
post #26 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. I am just ecstatic about what Waldorf is doing for my family and home. After reading many posts, talking with DDs teacher, and other parents, I made a schedule of our day for everyday. My computer time is only when DD sleeps now, and I engage in meaningful work the rest of the day. I was so surprised by how much that can involve DD. We are interacting during lunch, at nap, for bedtime, when I knit, as I clean. I was even able to put in an hour just for time with her for drawing, stories, singing, and dancing. I feel like a better wife and mom now. As a Christian SAHM, I feel like I have a job now that I am very satisfied with.

If DD asks me to play, I think I will try to do an activity with her that she otherwise couldn't do alone, or share a story, or sing and dance. That is positive interaction as well. And, maybe sometimes, I won't be able to resist some makebelieve.
post #27 of 55
Just want to respectfully suggest that there is no one formula that works for all children, Waldorf or no. My children are 5 and 10 and raised in Waldorf. I've learned the hard way that while it is so very important for you to consider the wisdom of "methods" you like, you must tune into your own wisdom guided by your own personal intuition about what is right for you and yours. I'm solo and busy with tasks round the clock. They beg me to play. When I sit and play, I'm totally "off" in what it means to play what they are playing ofcourse, so they tell me how to play. We all wish I could play with them more even though I'm "off". It's funny for all of us. I don't direct the play unless I'm giving a specific lesson on cutting strings of something or introducing some new concept. I do direct in that I limit certain things like legos, which my oldest is overly focused on. I do what works for us. I didn't always tune into my own wisdom. I borrowed from Waldorf when I didn't have confidence in my own intuition and wisdom and that was a mistake. Waldorf carries a great deal of wisdom, but it isn't greater than my own for my children and I. Same goes for you and yours.
Very important lesson that many great teachers teach, Dr. Steiner especially!
post #28 of 55
I guess I just want to know when one should expect a wee one to play on there own...Jack was an EXTREMELY high needs baby and is still a very demanding toddler...he is now able to play on his own for about 25-30 min at a time and really demands my time otherwise (plays for 20 min needs me for 30 min plays for 30 min needs me for 45 min)...

when can I expect him (he is 22 months and an only child) to play on his own...and for how long???
post #29 of 55
wow, what a fascinating thread! I am in the same boat as a PP who mentioned recently becoming tv-free. i have an almost 4yo and an 18mo. my older one has a hard time playing on his own and is constantly asking me to play with him. I never looked at it this way before (as their "on call entertainer") but it's true. I never really abused the tv, but I just finally became tired of the fight and his behavior so we don't do tv at all unless it's a special family movie night. This has been fairly recent so i am hoping that as he detoxes he will find it easier to play by himself and as ds2 is getting older, be able to play with him.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmommy27 View Post

when can I expect him (he is 22 months and an only child) to play on his own...and for how long???
When he is ready he will play on his own, for however long he wants. I don't think you can make your child play on thier own. I think the concept is- don't lead your child in play, don't entertain your child. Just go about your life.

I have an only child-almost 5yrs, and she is great at playing on her own, but she still needs time with me, naturally. That time can be simply sitting in my lap while I read my book or am at the computer, or helping me with house work, or gardening, or pet care. We take walks together, and fix meals together. She will drift in and out of my space as she needs to.

I do find myself painting or drawing occasionaly with dd. I like to paint and draw, and I don't direct dd. I also some times feel the need to build a block tower, not always when the blocks are out and being played with . I think this is called parrelle (sp?) play.

I will play a board game or card game with her, maybe once a week.

I have daycare children, some I have had for 2yrs and they still seem to think I will entertain them and lead them in play . The brothers were unable to play by themselves when they first came. They still cannot play on thier own with out my presence near-by. I have to be in view. They are not clingy or needy, they just want to be watched and guided(which I don't do).
I have a hard time with all the 'look at me', and 'watch me!' they do.
It is not that I don't want to, it is just I would rather watch them play unselfconsciously and I don't want to watch them show off for me over and over and over. I find it boring and I have other stuff to do. I tell them I will watch once and then go about my business.

I have a new little guy who's mommy entertains him 24/7. He is cute and I enjoy him, but it is hard being with a child who expects entertainment 24/7.
I honestly don't know how parents find the energy or time for that kind of parenting.


This was not a philosophy I picked up fom Waldorf-although we are exploring Waldorf for kindergarden- it just feels natural to be like this.
post #31 of 55
I have always tried to be more of a parent than a playmate (also respecting his space, i.e. he knows how to play better than I do!), and I find that it produces a much more pleasant child. Some of ds's friends expect me to play with/ entertain them, and it drives me crazy. I just try to direct them back to ds...
I have started to set aside one half hour a day to play _something_ with ds, though: puzzles, trains, the occasional "let's get out all the animals and have a full scale imagination romp", because he is an only child at this point, and I don't feel good about him playing alone all the time. I have found that he is not requesting me to play as much now since he knows that he will get that time at some point.
He has a playgroup, and 4 days out of 7 is guarenteed to play with some kids, but it's not the same as living together... this is a big issue for me, since I feel like a "tribal" situation is ideal for little kids: lots of friends around ALL the time.

(great thread)
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
What if you have only one child?
I agree, what if you only have one child?
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissPriss View Post
I agree, what if you only have one child?
I was born third into a family of five children. Throughout my childhood I spent significant amount of time playing by myself or reading books. As an adult I still have to have solitary time or I go grumpy.

So it isn't unhealthy for a child to be alone at least some of the time and solitary play is not a bad thing.

For the rest: playdates, plus regular concentrated play sessions with one or both parents. For babies this could include singing, dancing around with the baby, finger play and parallel activities, such as hanging out in the kitchen while parents cook or clean up. For slightly older children board or card games, puzzles, reading books. The most important thing is to avoid getting into make-believe play with children.
post #34 of 55
I really think that the idea of the concept working can also be dependent upon a child's temperament and what stage/age they are in. My oldest has an extremely difficult time playing on her own, partly because she does have Asperger's syndrome and this is typical. Her disability is such that it was not recognizable until she was over four in order to be diagnosed....so I would have felt like an utter Waldorf failure trying these things and wondering why on earth my child could not play on their own well. Now that she is six she loves to wash windows and do anything to help...at five this was impossible for her to do. My son always plays on his own....he doesn't need me for anything except food and drink, and hugs, LOL. He stays busy all day long at 2.5 without me even having to direct his play, he is just a busy little carpenter with his hammer and wood and nails...and the sandbox and his play car outside. I definitely am not entertainment for my children but I will play with them...it is especially important for me to do this with my dd with Asperger's as she isn't around other children a whole lot because we are homeschooling...she likes me to be the daughter and her to be the mother and ds to be the father and we act that out. I usually can "back out" of the play, too. I think it is so important to read and know your child and know what they need from you, as well as reading other people's experiences and knowledge in the Waldorf world.
post #35 of 55
Fluttermama,
Yes, it is incredibly important to be sensitive to your particular child's needs and temperament. And a child with unusual needs...any particular set of ideas about childraising will be a less than perfect fit...waldorf or anything else. For example, I'm pretty strongly anti-computer for small children, but I'd reconsider that stance if I knew a child who had to have a computer to communicate.

Thanks for sharing. It is good to be reminded how diverse the human family actually is.
post #36 of 55
I think it can get really confusing when you even try to do things in a particular way that other people say you should. Basically, take what resonates with you but you can't stand there wanting to engage with your child and not doing it because someone else said it is a bad idea.

I think I have a great balance in my home. My boys play together and individually all the time. Ocassionally they want me to participate and if it works for me than I do. It is not excessive and they are not remotely dependent on me being involved. I think that since I have gone in and out of a few rather dogmatic phases, I feel that flexibility and being true to yourself and your own instincts supercedes the opinion of one philosopher.

It is soooo stressful to try to do this parenting "right" and now that I'm in a more mainstream environment, I see that many of my Waldorfy choices are seen as strange or even detrimental by others. So, you have to pave your own way.

I have two boys who are 4 and 7 and I wouldn't give up any one of the precious moments when I stopped what I was doing to be with them on their terms and live in their little worlds for a bit. The majority of Waldorf parents I know have the same balance and do not maintain any particular veneer or limitations with regard to engaging or playing with their kids- but, they also know that their kids shouldn't run the show and are able to get their own work done as well. I think flexibility and balance are key.

Good luck.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
The most important thing is to avoid getting into make-believe play with children.
...Could you elaborate? I'm not sure why this needs to be avoided, but I'd be interested to hear the reasoning.
post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by zansmama View Post
...Could you elaborate? I'm not sure why this needs to be avoided, but I'd be interested to hear the reasoning.
It pulls the children out of their own free imagination into the adult point of view and reasoning. If an adult can stand back and let the children lead the make-believe it might work, but it is awfully hard not to bring rationality into things.

Also, speaking as an observer of my grandchildren playing make-believe, if it is two or three children they negotiate things and take terms being dominant, but with an adult present, either the child tells the adult what to do all the time or else the adult takes over and guides the play.

My most successful activities with my grandchildren are: storytelling, reading books, playing board or card games, or just hanging out while my grandson does stuff with his toys and tells me what he is doing (ditto my granddaughter, but as she is older it is more her explaining stuff or giving me demos). Crafts are also good. And it is okay for a grandparent to be available as an entertainer or companion. A different dynamic. If the grandparent is actually the child's main caretaker or lives in the household, then everything shifts.

The basic concept is that parents main role is keeping everything running--earning a living, managing the household, taking care of the children--and this role is not compatible with being available as a play companion any time the child feels like having someone to play with.
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
It pulls the children out of their own free imagination into the adult point of view and reasoning. If an adult can stand back and let the children lead the make-believe it might work, but it is awfully hard not to bring rationality into things.
Okay, I hear that: I do wince when occasionally ds plays at make-believe with grown-up friends and they introduce rationality... I guess I have instinctually avoided that...
How do you feel about listening to their stories? Ds is endlessly making up long, fanciful stories_ he lives in that world very totally. I have been cautious to refrain from asking him questions about his stories: I just listen, and make apropriate comments (Wow! or Awww, or something like that)
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by zansmama View Post
Okay, I hear that: I do wince when occasionally ds plays at make-believe with grown-up friends and they introduce rationality... I guess I have instinctually avoided that...
How do you feel about listening to their stories? Ds is endlessly making up long, fanciful stories_ he lives in that world very totally. I have been cautious to refrain from asking him questions about his stories: I just listen, and make apropriate comments (Wow! or Awww, or something like that)
Good point. Yes, just listening is good. I think it is okay to ask questions if you just need to clarify something. "What was the name of the giant?" But mostly just listening is good.

I've noticed with my grandson that if I do ask something that requires rational thinking beyond where he is he'll just ignore what I said. He is pretty clear about what he understands and is interested in and what he isn't so he is well protected from grown-up pushiness. Funny!
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