Mothering Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 3 year old is extremely verbal and highly extroverted. In short, he can be exhausting.<br><br>
As long as I include him in whatever I’m doing (dressing, pooping, cleaning, cooking), his behavior is usually ok. He’ll happily chat away and help me out, and act sweet as can be. He’s also often ok when playing with his older 6 y.o. brother (who by the way is “on the spectrum” and has some social delays and is pretty introverted and who sometimes just needs to play by himself). If ds2 does not have an outlet for his verbal/ social desires, he quickly finds a way to get some interaction (hitting, name-calling, throwing something, breaking something, etc.)<br><br>
I work outside the home part time, so I get a break most week days. When I’m home, I’m “on” because I am the only other extrovert in the family (though he’s got me beat with the extroversion!) Thus far in his life, I have taken the path of accepting him for who he is, and meeting his expectations by being present for him pretty much all.the.time except when he naps. Well, he’s recently dropped his naps, and I’m crying uncle.<br><br>
I’ve also recently realized that giving him what he WANTS in terms of attention may not really be what’s best for him. I think he needs to develop the ability to play independently, at least for short periods of time. I think he needs to realize that the world will not end if he doesn’t get social interaction 24/7, and I think he needs to develop some resourcefulness about entertaining himself (that doesn’t involve talking someone else into playing whatever imaginative game he has in mind).<br><br>
Today I tried pulling out some blocks. I asked him to make me something special, and call me when it was done. 10 seconds later, he was done. I tried building something with him, then stepping away. No dice. There are tons of puzzles, books, blocks, art supplies, etc. in the house because older brother likes that type of thing, but younger brother likes people best, and toys are merely props for social interaction. I realized that while he can concentrate on one thing for long periods of time if someone else is with him, he has NO ability to work independently. I realize that one day isn’t enough time to expect amazing results, and that I need to keep at it. (Especially because I had something I really wanted to get done, and got angry when this didn’t “work” and left the room in a huff and shut myself in the bathroom to clean it BY MYSELF, and that certainly didn’t help him feel excited about learning a new skill).<br><br>
Any ideas on how to help him develop this capacity?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,010 Posts
DD has quiet time 30 mins a day. I bribe her with TV <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">. This routine did not phase in easily, but so worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
What worked for us was making independent playtime part of the daily routine. For us the time is before dinner; dds can help with dinner if they choose (set the table or prep that I give them) or play on their own. Their attention span makes the helping part not last too long and then they wander off on their own. It took awhile, but they now entertain themselves quite well in that hour. When we started it I had a pictorial list of things that they could do by themselves and if they were having trouble finding something to do I'd have them pick something from the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I've been reading some of the other threads on quiet time and I think that is the key. I think we need to build it into the routine, ESPECIALLY this summer when I and the kids will be home all day together. We'll all need a break from each other (though I'm not sure ds2 will see it that way). We have 4 more weeks to go, and I think I'll be working in the intermediary time on more low-pressure strategies for getting him to play independently for small amounts of time.<br><br>
I think once summer comes, we'll have a quiet time after lunch. My one consideration: the boys share a room, and when ds1 wants to play alone in the room, ds2 usually won't comply. So where to have each kid go? Hmm..... if only I can convince one of them to hang out in my room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,680 Posts
My extroverted DD didn't spend much time playing independently until about age 4 and it's increased a lot recently at 4.5. before she needed feedback about everything she did and wanted someone to participate in her play. Also the few time she'd play alone she played with in a few feet of me or DH. This spring she is even going outside in the back yard and playing alone for an hour or two at a time.<br><br>
I think your DS will develop the ability and desire to play independently in time. He's just not ready yet. I'm not sure why you think giving him what he wants in terms of attention is not good for him, but I know for my DD it was good for her. We've seen so much growth in her social skills and her independence, mainly since September or so, she's not the same child. I don't know how much going to preschool this year has influenced that growth, but it may have or not. There's really no way to know. I'm just enjoying it.<br><br>
She still is a bit of a chatterbox though. But sometimes lately it's her toys talking to each other instead of to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I think automatically giving him attention was not giving him the opportunity to learn how to play independently. I'm not advocating REFUSING attention, just gently working with him to encourage independent play. We ALL need this- ds1 and I need a break, ds2 needs cheerful playmates.<br><br>
Yesterday I pulled out the wooden tracks and wooden street set, and both boys spent at least half an hour playing on their own with them. Ds2 was within 3 feet of me and occasionally checking in to talk about his play, but mostly doing his own thing. Before we did that, he helped me empty the dishwasher, so he had some mama time to begin with. (And mama time afterward too- we all went out for a bike ride till the thunder started, then came in and set up our tent in the living room- fun!!!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
I also have a very social little 3.5 yr old (social butterfly, just like his mom!) - and I am def playmate of choice. So three things: first, I also let him watch videos while 1 yr old little sister is napping and I am having some downtime. He doesn't nap anymore and I just can't talk to him/be his playmate all day long. I need a break, he needs a break (even if he doesn't realize it). Second, like a PP said, I also believe that this is what he needs right now. I think some kids just develop the ability to play independently at different ages. Third, I also have had the experience that this first year of playschool has helped immensely.<br><br>
There was a great article in Mothering recently about giving your kid more than what they need. I've been trying to keep this in mind.<br><br>
Also, now that it's spring and we can go outside more often, that helps. When we're at the park, he's much more willing to play alone in the sandbox - and also starting to play with other kids at the park - chase, etc.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,214 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jpaigeadams</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15456583"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">...I just can't talk to him/be his playmate all day long. I need a break, he needs a break (even if he doesn't realize it). Second, like a PP said, I also believe that this is what he needs right now. I think some kids just develop the ability to play independently at different ages. ...</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I agree with this completely. My son is always ON. Nonstop. If I don't take little 'me' breaks, I'd go mad.<br><br>
I had to show ds how to play by himself. I would get a couple of toys/props and sit/lie on the floor in the same room but not right next to him.<br>
I'd starting playing by myself and narrating things out loud "Come on, Joe, let's go build a house". I'd use the toys/props and act out a scene.<br>
My son would come over to see what I'm doing and I'd say "I'm playing by myself and it's so much fun!"<br><br>
Ds would sit down and want to play, too. I'd then say something like "Here, you try." and I would hand a toy over.<br><br>
Eventually, he caught on and began to love playing by himself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Phew!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
My 3 y.o. DD is really social and not at all shy about talking to everyone and everyone either. There are times where I just turn myself "off" to her for lack of a better term. Basically, I have had to sit her down and explain that I need to be able to get certain things done - like making her lunch, cleaning the dishes, whatever and I ask her to please play by herself with X, Y, or Z. Sometimes giving her the same "toy task" helps - Can you please make me lunch in YOUR kitchen? She'll still talk to me while she does it but she truly doesn't expect constant replies kwim?<br><br>
It may seem overly simplistic, but would explaining things in terms of "mommy needs you to play by yourself for 10 minutes b/c...." work for your child at all....even over time?<br><br>
I also noticed when I cut out T.V., it took about 4-5 days but that helped her play independently too. I think T.V. was her downtime and the rest of the time she was "on" ...when she didn't have the T.V. downtime anymore (which she resisted at first) she learned to do other things by herself much better.<br><br>
Good luck!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Now that I am paying more attention to it, I think that ds2 actually had already developed SOME ability to play independently. It was just hard to notice at the point when I posted. Ds2 wants me more, understandably, at the end of the week when I've been gone more, and during high stress times such as that particular day. Those are also the times when I have less to give. Some times are just hard, and we have to walk through them.<br><br>
Today the kids did their usual run around the house playing crazy energetic games together while I did my weekly bathroom cleaning. Just before that, I took both kids on a short one-on-one bike ride around the block (dh agreed to go into work a bit late), and just after that ds2 took his bath, and played quite independently, with me in sight in the bedroom getting stuff ready for our bike ride to music class.<br><br>
That part of the day, at least, was sunshine and joy. (We won't talk about the power struggle I got into with ds1 about how he could pick any lunch food EXCEPT another sugary one before heading out to the playground).
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top