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My daughter is 23 months old and doesn't play on her own. She is a very bright little girl and I really don't have much to complain about. But she only naps for an hour a day and she doesn't play for more than a few minutes on her own. If I turn on the computer she wants to look at pictures. If I take out a pen to pay bills or make a list she wants to color with it. If I sit down she wants to climb in my lap. It's starting to drive me crazy. What can I do to encourage her to play on her own? She has a ton of great toys but she won't play with them unless I'm right there with her.
 

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Boy, do I feel your pain. My daughter is about the same age, and won't do a thing on her own, either. I was thinking that it's because I work outside the home during hte week and she's with my mom all day. So when I get home, she just wants to be with me. But I've been asking around and I think it's just an age thing. I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts because I know that it won't be too much longer that she's saying things like "Leave me alone!" and "MOM! I need PRIVACY!!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/biglaugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="laugh">: Just quoting myself from around the age 10 or so <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I also think it is age. My DS is now 2.5 years, and what a difference from just 6 months ago, when I had to be with him 24/7. I don't mean he plays for 4 hours by himself now, but a good half hour here or 15 minutes there. There are certain things he will do on his own with minor interuptions (computer, i.e. to ask me to get to a specific website) . Other things he wants me or DH to come (play with Legos.) In this case, he also understands what we are doing and if it is important. For example, if I am reading the paper and he wants me to play with Legos, he will insist on me playing, because he knows it isn't important. If I am making dinner and he wants me to play with Legos, he asks once or twice, then plays by himself, because he knows I have to keep making dinner.<br><br>
This too shall pass.
 

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I posted this in a similar thread a few weeks ago. Maybe it would help.<br><br>
In the book the Continuum Concept, the author talks about how babies and toddlers are much more comfortable when we're hard at work. They often don't like it when we sit still, work on the computer, read a book, etc. They like to see us in action.<br><br>
My DD is 25 months, and wasn't playing independently at all. So, I tried to find a hobby that was very mechanical--I started sewing, and it's incredible to me how she started playing independently while the machine is going or I'm cutting things out. If she gets clingy, I let her sit with me (or sometimes she stands behind me on the chair and peeks over my shoulder as I sew). Or I tell her "mama needs to work now" and she accepts it because she can see me working hard. She mimics the sound of the machine while she plays, and she mimics me cutting things out.<br><br>
On the other hand, if I tell her "mama needs to work now" while I'm at the computer, she doesn't accept it at all.<br><br>
Other things could be gardening, building things, simple repairs (bicycles maybe), improvements to your house. Really, anything that is active.<br><br>
She spends a large part of her day in independent play now (at least, the time we spend inside).<br><br>
Anyway, I thought the idea might be worth a try for you.
 

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ditto rzberry mom. If I am outside with my kids, we walk to the playground, to calas house, investigate pine cones.... basically a half hour of entertainment. But if ds is out with dh while he is gardening, raking, digging, mowing the lawn... as long as he has his own shovel and rake to "help", then they can be out there for hours.
 

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Get pregnant! LOL!<br><br>
My dd is 20 months right now, and has always been very attached to me, but, really this fall when I had awful morning sickness she really did well starting to play on her own, with me sitting near her (really laying near her, or hunched over)<br><br>
That said, she still wants to do everything I'm doing most of the time. But, she does have some time where she will play fine next to me, even if I'm not active in playing with her.
 

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rzberrymom's input is definitely born out in my personal experience. My dd wil be 18 mos next week and has been playing independently for a few months . .. except when I'm on the computer. I do work full time outside of the home . . .and am a busy bee when I am home. When I'm preparing dinner, she's in the kitchen with me doing her thing in the cabinets, but doesn't require interaction from me. I do involve her by giving her the opportunity to add spices to the dish or stir a pot, but, otherwise, she'll play near me. We live in a 1300 sq foot condo - so not so big - and her toys are in the living room. She'll play with her dolls and take them back to the dining room where her baby swing is or go to her room and wrap them in blankets or flip through her books. Again, though, not so much if I'm sitting on the couch, then, she wants to be engaged by me. Wow, I just realized that I'm not really still if she's up unless she's nursing! We're both usually doing something intentionally together or in tandem.
 

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Purely by accident, I ended up putting together "treasure boxes" for ds to play with. It started with a shoebox of train pieces and other "treasures" (a hair clip, a brush, a little playmobile person, a wooden clothespin, etc) in the hall outside our kitchen. Our kitchen is small, and when I cook dinner, I put ds in the hall with the gate closed on either end, so he's in a long "run" of space but not in danger from the stove etc. He'll play quite happily next to me for chunks of time. Now we have all kinds of treasure chests: a clear plastic container (originally a rice container) with a screw-on lid, a shoebox of puzzle pieces, a paper bag of random toys, etc.<br><br>
And he'll play for HOURS if I put the bathroom sink on a drizzle and put the step stool next to it. He runs and finds anything that can hold water: measuring cups, stacking cups, spoons, etc. Of course, I can pretty much plan on having to mop up the bathroom and change his clothes afterwards, but it's enough time to buy me a shower, for instance.<br><br>
I find the other thing that helps is getting him started with something like building blocks, then letting him continue to explore on his own.
 

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my son plays by himself if the TV is on. He doesn't really watch the tv after a few minutes but he'll go to town with his toys. I noticed it very early. We used to play BE vidoes and that make him become totally engrossed in everything else in the room. He likes the background noise.
 

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Thanks for all the great ideas. I'm really hoping it is something she's going to grow out of. Right now, she is in a real "Mommy" faze. It's strange because she wants to do everything else by herself. She insists on buckling her carseat herself, putting on her pants, socks, shoes, etc. herself, carrying her plate to the table herself. Everytime I go to do something, she yells "self, self, self". But I can't get her to play by herself. What makes it more frustrating is that my friend's son will spend 2 hours putting coins in and out of buckets. That would entertain my daughter for about 30 seconds.
 
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