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

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#31 of 55 Old 03-22-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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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)
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#32 of 55 Old 03-23-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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What if you have only one child?
I agree, what if you only have one child?
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#33 of 55 Old 03-23-2007, 09:34 AM
 
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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.
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#34 of 55 Old 03-23-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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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.
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#35 of 55 Old 03-23-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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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.
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#36 of 55 Old 03-24-2007, 12:13 AM
 
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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.
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#37 of 55 Old 03-25-2007, 07:35 PM
 
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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.
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#38 of 55 Old 03-25-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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...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.
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#39 of 55 Old 03-27-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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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)
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#40 of 55 Old 03-27-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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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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#41 of 55 Old 03-27-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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Yeah, ds is very good at ignoring that sort of thing as well. I guess I even hesitate to ask names and things because I'm not sure if this is just imaginary, or if perhaps he's telling me something by allegory. ( for instance there was the "once upon a time there was a big giant and he killed my mommy" story_ after a rather difficult rainy day with lots of conflict. After that, you can bet I gave ds some extra loving and attention.) Often he will tell stories with dragons or giants when he's feeling angry. Beautiful fairy or princess stories often come when he's in a extra "lovey" mood. But usually it's long, complex adventure stories.
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#42 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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This thread is very interesting to me. My 3 year old expects me to be her constant entertainer, if I'm not playing directly with her she is hanging around doing absolutely nothing until I start playing with her again. Seriously, it reminds me of teenagers hanging around on streetcorners waiting for something to do. She will occasionally make believe, (maybe a couple of times a week) playing babies.
Is anybody else in a similar situation?
Also do I need to 'show' her how to play imaginatively or it it something that just happens?

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#43 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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Mamauk- Honestly...I think it depends....I only discovered Waldorf a couple of months before my sons 3rd birthday, I bought him a load of Waldorf toys for his birthday and he had a hard time adjusting...I would set up playscenes when he was in bed so he would discover them the next morning, a farm (made from tree blocks and felt animals), or a home scene with dolls and beds etc in the hope he would be inspired.

His play has developed so much since then, although he still dosen't play 'make-believe' very much , he likes to create, to build towers or mud pies!!! My DD who was pretty much Waldorf since birth had no problem playing on her own...she is 2 now and plays 'make-believe' all day.

I think if you are just transitioning to waldorf your DD may benefit from you directing her play, giving her ideas at least to start with...or you could try telling her a story, acting it out with puppets etc, and then leave her to play with them and see how she does.

I tend not to play with my kids as I find it boring tbh...but we always do crafts and painting together, and read books...it's amazing how much their play revolves around stories we read, and they love it when they can use what they have made in their play...for example gnomes made out of pine cones etc...
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#44 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 03:49 PM
 
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Mamauk- Honestly...I think it depends....I only discovered Waldorf a couple of months before my sons 3rd birthday, I bought him a load of Waldorf toys for his birthday and he had a hard time adjusting...I would set up playscenes when he was in bed so he would discover them the next morning, a farm (made from tree blocks and felt animals), or a home scene with dolls and beds etc in the hope he would be inspired.

His play has developed so much since then, although he still dosen't play 'make-believe' very much , he likes to create, to build towers or mud pies!!! My DD who was pretty much Waldorf since birth had no problem playing on her own...she is 2 now and plays 'make-believe' all day.

I think if you are just transitioning to waldorf your DD may benefit from you directing her play, giving her ideas at least to start with...or you could try telling her a story, acting it out with puppets etc, and then leave her to play with them and see how she does.

I tend not to play with my kids as I find it boring tbh...but we always do crafts and painting together, and read books...it's amazing how much their play revolves around stories we read, and they love it when they can use what they have made in their play...for example gnomes made out of pine cones etc...
I think what my LO is going to have a difficult time with is me not playing with her so much, honestly , we would go from one activity to the next with me constantly playing along side her. I was feeling frustrated b/c I also found it to be boring TBH. I also enjoy to read to her, paint and play -doh.
You said your DS isn't into make-believe so much, do you think some children are and some children aren't? My LO seems to like fiddling round with things, threading things, doing jigsaws, that type of thing. She does love to dress up too. Maybe next time we read a simple story together I can suggest she gets her little figures to play the story out.....This afternoon I explained that I had some jobs that needed to be done so she would need to play on her own and to be honest she did accept it (I was surprised) and she did four little jigsaws, played with her wooded teddies for a bit and then went outside and kind of walked around enjoying the sunshine.
It was so interesting to read your reply as my LO has just turned three and I also have a four month old DD so she will have the full benefit from Waldorf inspired surroundings....Thank you!

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#45 of 55 Old 07-16-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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You said your DS isn't into make-believe so much, do you think some children are and some children aren't? My LO seems to like fiddling round with things, threading things, doing jigsaws, that type of thing.
Yeah, I do think personally that some children are more into make-believe than others....I can see a real difference between the way my DS plays and the way my DD plays, even if my son had the benefit of a waldorf environment from birth I don't feel he would have been much different...like your DD he likes puzzles and threading beads etc...he is quite mathematically minded and likes to count and builds pretty intricate structures from blocks and pebbles etc. My DD on the other hand likes to look at books and draw and play tea-parties with her dolls, she just seems more 'dreamy' than my DS...just yesterday I saw her walking round the garden whispering to the plants, when I asked her what she was doing she said "talking to the fairies"!!
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#46 of 55 Old 07-16-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Yeah, I do think personally that some children are more into make-believe than others....I can see a real difference between the way my DS plays and the way my DD plays, even if my son had the benefit of a waldorf environment from birth I don't feel he would have been much different...like your DD he likes puzzles and threading beads etc...he is quite mathematically minded and likes to count and builds pretty intricate structures from blocks and pebbles etc. My DD on the other hand likes to look at books and draw and play tea-parties with her dolls, she just seems more 'dreamy' than my DS...just yesterday I saw her walking round the garden whispering to the plants, when I asked her what she was doing she said "talking to the fairies"!!

That is so sweet!!!!!! It sounds like she has a lovely imagination...I know its going to take quite a long time for my LO's imagination to take off I think...this afternoon she totally freaked out b/c I said I had some jobs to do so I wouldn't be able to play with her right away. Full on tantrum!
She helped me while I was in the kitchen, I did the dishes and she cleaned the glass on the front of the oven with water and vinegar abd rubbed it down with screwed up paper...I think she kind of enjoyed it... after that she went into the garden and talked to her friend over the fence so she wasn't actually playing as such!
Hopefully we will get their eventually. Your DD sounds so adorable!

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#47 of 55 Old 07-21-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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DS doesn't go to Waldorf (none in our area), but this thread caught my eye. And all I can say is heeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllpppppppppppppp! Because I am trapped in the situation of playing make-believe games with DS all day long. It is all he wants to do, and he wants to do it with me. He doesn't like playing alone, is not happy when I'm cooking or cleaning (and doesn't have the attention span to help with those activities -- he only lasts a few minutes.)

I was discussing with DH yesterday, that perhaps I've done everything wrong from the start. When DS was a baby, I gave him a lot of "playtime" attention -- I was very focused on him. Perhaps he got used to being the center of attention?

Then, when he was around 2, it was ME who introduced the idea of make-believe play to him. Things escalated from there.

Every time I try to prepare lunch or dinner, DS whines and cries, because he wants me to play with him. This has been going on for as long as I can remember.

So my question is -- how can we get out of this pattern, now that we have started it? (Hope I'm not hijacking -- I think my question goes along with the theme of this thread. )

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#48 of 55 Old 07-21-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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DS doesn't go to Waldorf (none in our area), but this thread caught my eye. And all I can say is heeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllpppppppppppppp! Because I am trapped in the situation of playing make-believe games with DS all day long. It is all he wants to do, and he wants to do it with me. He doesn't like playing alone, is not happy when I'm cooking or cleaning (and doesn't have the attention span to help with those activities -- he only lasts a few minutes.)

I was discussing with DH yesterday, that perhaps I've done everything wrong from the start. When DS was a baby, I gave him a lot of "playtime" attention -- I was very focused on him. Perhaps he got used to being the center of attention?

Then, when he was around 2, it was ME who introduced the idea of make-believe play to him. Things escalated from there.

Every time I try to prepare lunch or dinner, DS whines and cries, because he wants me to play with him. This has been going on for as long as I can remember.

So my question is -- how can we get out of this pattern, now that we have started it? (Hope I'm not hijacking -- I think my question goes along with the theme of this thread. )

just wanted to say I understand how you are feeling totally. I have done exactly the same thing with my 3 year old, I have given her so so so much focus she now has to 'learn' to play by herself and its slow going but we are getting somewhere. I've found it made things worse if i told her to go and play by herself for a little while so instead I have to set her up with something (playing with her wooden teddies and wooden dress up dolls) and then say I'm just making a cup of tea or hanging the laundry you can help if you want. Sometimes she will help but mostly she will stay for a little bit and carry on what we started. It might only be for 1o minutes but its a start. Today she actually 'let me' have an hour on the laptop at lunchtime while she leafed through books and played with her dolls and munched on a snack. She only plays make believe about once a week (i wish it were more, i love to hear her talking to her dolls) and I've found that the rare occasions she does I find a chore to do near her and might aks her the odd question to do with her make believe and then she seems to be quite happy to continue her make believe game without me directly involved (like me on the floor with her)
I spend so much time worrying about her lack on independent play but i know its from my own doing! I just wanted to say i understand how you feel, I'm just taking it a day at a time and trying to feel happy with tiny steps.

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#49 of 55 Old 07-21-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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[QUOTE=mamaUK;11743749] I've found it made things worse if i told her to go and play by herself for a little while [QUOTE]

Yes, I found this out too ... baby steps, yes ... I just can't handle my little one's crushed face, though, if I refuse to play make-believe (pretend we are a dragon family or whatever).

Thank you for posting -- feel better knowing I'm not the only one .

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#50 of 55 Old 07-21-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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Well, don't refuse outright! Just say something like "I have to take care of ___________ and I'll come and play with you in just a little while, in the meantime, could you do _____________?" And after the 10 or 15 minutes do come and play with her. But don't ever reinforce whining or tantruming by giving in, of course. If you just ask her to be on her own for small blocks of time she'll probably start doing this and that and then you can gradually extend the amount of time.

Also, doing paper stuff at the table while mommy works on kitchen stuff makes some kids happy. Coloring, drawing or cutting things out are all good.
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#51 of 55 Old 07-22-2008, 10:49 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Deborah;11745802]Well, don't refuse outright! Just say something like "I have to take care of ___________ and I'll come and play with you in just a little while, in the meantime, could you do _____________?" And after the 10 or 15 minutes do come and play with her. But don't ever reinforce whining or tantruming by giving in, of course. If you just ask her to be on her own for small blocks of time she'll probably start doing this and that and then you can gradually extend the amount of time.

[QUOTE]

That is very sensible advice. I'm starting today!

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#52 of 55 Old 07-22-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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I used this very technique with my grandson today. I needed to go chat with his mom, so I left him with some toys and he managed to play on his own for a stretch.

He is actually quite good at playing on his own, but not if he can get his hands on a compliant grandparent. Grandparents are seen (rightly) as playmates.
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#53 of 55 Old 07-23-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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I guess perhaps I am doing something right! I started another thread of WHAT to do with my DD(almost 18 months) and someone linked me here. Phew!

My daughter is exceptionally self guided and plays alone all day(and she is an only child for the next few days at least! LOL) and pretty much always has. I will try to read her a book sometimes or show her a toy to try or something, but she does it all by herself almost 100% of the time.

I was feeling bad about my "non-interaction" being pregnant and tired all the time, I just don't have the energy to do structured activities all day, but I guess i wasn't doing anything wrong letting her play by herself! Again-phew!

So I will continue to allow her to play unassisted and hope that her brother will be as good at self play or at least cooperative play with his sister as she is alone!

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#54 of 55 Old 09-04-2008, 08:45 AM
 
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I guess perhaps I am doing something right! I started another thread of WHAT to do with my DD(almost 18 months) and someone linked me here. Phew!

My daughter is exceptionally self guided and plays alone all day(and she is an only child for the next few days at least! LOL) and pretty much always has. I will try to read her a book sometimes or show her a toy to try or something, but she does it all by herself almost 100% of the time.

I was feeling bad about my "non-interaction" being pregnant and tired all the time, I just don't have the energy to do structured activities all day, but I guess i wasn't doing anything wrong letting her play by herself! Again-phew!

So I will continue to allow her to play unassisted and hope that her brother will be as good at self play or at least cooperative play with his sister as she is alone!
You're lucky that she is able to play by herself naturally! We're getting there now with our LO and since going TV free aside from an hour and a half a week and getting rid of plastic junk and having natural toys she is much happier to play unassisted with me near by. She still loves me to read to her, she adores her stories LOL . She's have me read to her all day if she could...LOL

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#55 of 55 Old 09-04-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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This is an awesome thread! Long before I discovered Waldorf philosophies, I started fostering independent play in my son---from the time he was an infant. Now he's 20 months old and plays happilly by himself for most of the day. He runs over to me for a hug or kiss, or initiates a game of throwing balls around. But he'll contentedly play with blocks or toy pots and pans or his wooden trains for ages! I fostered the skill because I was 95% sure he'd be an only child and I don't want him to need a mama-playmate 24/7! We get plenty of one on one time and read books and play trains and things. But I really encourage his solo-playing.

I had never really thought about staying out of his make-believe play though! It makes sense! All the more reason for him to bond with his dolls and learn to use them in his games. He loves to feed them, and I showed him that they can push trains and trucks with him. He seems to enjoy it. Right now his best playment is our cat!

Thank you everyone for the interesting feedback! This was an educational thread to read!
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