Four and 1/2 year old wont do pretend play - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've noticed recently that my daughter just wont play by herself. We play dolls together or play house or come up with silly games, but she wont ever do it unless me or H are with her. We have a designated quiet time where she is supposed to play alone for 30 minutes each day and let mommy get some things done, and she'll just sit there and says she can't think of anything to do. I give her ideas and she wont do them. I'll try and start a game with her or play dolls and then sneak out when she's interested but once I'm gone she stops. Is it typical for an almost five year old to not do imaginative play on her own? She's a very funny girl, very expressive, but just doesn't seem to get lost in her own world ever like I did so much as a kid. Does that come way later? Or have I caused her to become dependent on us by not enforcing 'quiet time' earlier? She's an only child so maybe that contributes in some way as well? 

 

Any advice is appreciated! 

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#2 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 11:18 AM
 
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I would be watchful if she didn't do *any* imaginary play.  Not concerned at all that they want to do it with mama.

 

Not that it works 100% (my girls were terribly stubborn) but I would at least try to suggest that "now it's mama's turn to pick something to do" and make a game of the chores.  She can bring her dolls along for extra company.  I remember making chores into games, myself, as a child.  Sweeping I was Cinderella, washing dishes the scrubby under the bubbles was the hero come to save the dirty dishes.  I didn't get much done, but I was engaged!  Pull up a chair at the kitchen sink, bring the doll clothes along while you fold laundry, you get the picture.  

 

Her wanting company is perfectly normal, and so is your need to get things done.  

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#3 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 12:45 PM
 
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Not at all! My daughter hasn't ever played by herself or had that imagination that my other child has. She is a well balanced, Smart, articulate, and kind young woman! I worried some when she was you LO age but time has proven it wasn't necessary
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#4 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 01:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by randomgirl View Post
 

She's a very funny girl, very expressive, but just doesn't seem to get lost in her own world ever like I did so much as a kid. Does that come way later? Or have I caused her to become dependent on us by not enforcing 'quiet time' earlier? She's an only child so maybe that contributes in some way as well? 

 

I did the same thing as you, so having 2 girls who wanted to play with you every waking minute, it seems, can be a hard adjustment.  It might come later in some children, it might not come at all and I think that would be perfectly normal.  Some of us value alone time more than others at any age.

 

You have not caused her to become dependent, but you could possibly create problems if you push to hard to get things a certain way.  Not that you shouldn't try to get that time, but if you are seeing some backlash--she becomes even more persistent and clingy at other times of the day--then it's time to try something els, something like I've mentioned above that includes her, but in activities of your own choosing.  If you take that route, put off things that are difficult to include her in, and save those for when you have backup. 

 

I would avoid "sneaking off" at anytime.  I think this would make matters worse.  Choose a task in the room you are in.  Pull up the laundry basket and fold clothes while she plays her game or helps you fold.  Dust a little.  Organize play bins while she's in the play room.  Vacuum and sweep wherever she is.  Open a book or magazine while she is busy with her narration.  When it's time to do something of your choosing (after giving her a 5-minute change-of-game warning), be direct about it.  "Look, it's 11:00!  Time to tidy the kitchen and make lunch, and I'd love your company and I know you love mine.  What toys can we bring?"  But don't ask permission, and don't sneak out.


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#5 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would avoid "sneaking off" at anytime.  I think this would make matters worse.  Choose a task in the room you are in.  Pull up the laundry basket and fold clothes while she plays her game or helps you fold.  Dust a little.  Organize play bins while she's in the play room.  Vacuum and sweep wherever she is.  Open a book or magazine while she is busy with her narration.  When it's time to do something of your choosing (after giving her a 5-minute change-of-game warning), be direct about it.  "Look, it's 11:00!  Time to tidy the kitchen and make lunch, and I'd love your company and I know you love mine.  What toys can we bring?"  But don't ask permission, and don't sneak out.

 

I don't literally sneak out, I just wait until she is engaged for awhile and then explain to her that I need to go work on some things and I'll be back in awhile. At that point she just stops whatever we were doing and follows me. Yes, I include her in chores and she loves it. We do a lot of things together, she just doesn't seem capable of entertaining herself unless I am an active participant. It gets emotionally wearing because I don't always have backup and I have to have a little me time as well to get things done. 

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#6 of 6 Old 03-17-2014, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mmarkey19695 View Post

Not at all! My daughter hasn't ever played by herself or had that imagination that my other child has. She is a well balanced, Smart, articulate, and kind young woman! I worried some when she was you LO age but time has proven it wasn't necessary

 

Thank you, that is relieving to hear! 

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