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View Full Version : Advice on demanding 3 1/2 year old



Dreamalittledream
02-08-2012, 09:47 AM
I have a new little girl (almost 4, as well as her sister aged 1) that started with me 6 weeks ago and I am struggling with her not being able to direct her own play, essentially, to amuse herself during free play time. Spoke to Mom about it and she stated that in her previous (Montessori) daycare she was one on one each day with her providor. That added to the fact that she has an older sister who definitely directs the play for both of them (I see this on the odd day that I've had her as well). I actually have a small playroom set up attached to my big playroom that has a craft area, barbies, dolls, doll house, books etc. When she goes in there, she just stands there and says that she doesn't know what to do. I start her on an activity eg. Sponge painting...get up to go back to my little ones and she says, "I don't know how"...or stops the activity as soon as I leave the area. Frustrated because I really can't be one on one with her all the time during free play. The one positive is that she does still nap for an hour and I really do enjoy the crafts we get to do during our one on one time before the littles wake up. Any advice would help!

playfelt
02-08-2012, 10:09 AM
If she is stopping the activity after getting started then it isnt' that she doesn't know how it is that she doesn't want to do it alone. And that isn't your problem. As well you owe it to this child who will need to go off to school soon to teach her that she can play alone. I would stop with the special things in the next room and just let her be with the rest of the kids even if they are little so she isn't alone. Then limit the amount of time you spend individually with her. Boredom will breed play soon enough.

Judy Trickett
02-08-2012, 10:27 AM
I agree. Just stop doing things with her until she earns that privilege by showing she can self-entertain.

BTW, kids in Montessori SHOULD be self-directing. The entire point of Montessori is so the kids work independently the bulk of the day.

Dreamalittledream
02-08-2012, 10:57 AM
I agree. Just stop doing things with her until she earns that privilege by showing she can self-entertain.

BTW, kids in Montessori SHOULD be self-directing. The entire point of Montessori is so the kids work independently the bulk of the day.

Spit my coffee out at the Montessori "independently" bit....I really know very little about this way of teaching...but really? She must have failed;)

Daycare123
02-08-2012, 11:46 AM
BTW, kids in Montessori SHOULD be self-directing. The entire point of Montessori is so the kids work independently the bulk of the day.

I completely agree, and was surprised to hear this as it makes no sense. I have worked in true Montessori centers and the idea is that the child's play is self-directed. Further children are encouraged to be more independent and taught at a very young age how to clean up after themselves etc.

Skysue
02-08-2012, 11:58 AM
She sounds like she does a lot of hands on stuff with Mom. Imaginative play is so important at this age. When my 3 year olds want me to engage them and I’m busy I usually get them involved in a project then say surprise me as I can’t look until your done, this usually gets them started. Is there other kids her age who can teach her how to play?

michellesmunchkins
02-08-2012, 12:24 PM
My son was in montessori for 6 months and it was so one on one that we pulled him out. He was regressing back into wanting us to do everything for him at 3.5 years old. I also don't know much about montessori but thought it was supposed to be very self directed, yet this was not how the one here where I live was run. Took us a few weeks to get our son back to the level of independence he was at before he began there.

As for the little one...I agree with everyone else. The "I don't know how..." is just a ploy to get your undivided attention on her.

Cadillac
02-08-2012, 12:27 PM
I agree. I would keep her with the group of little ones and eventually she'll start to wander and find her own fun. I assume that there are no other children her age there. This can be tough as children of that age begin to play really well with other children and crave companionship. There's nothing you can really do about that unless you take on another child.

I might use the special one on one time as a treat (bribe). If she is able to complete X amount of activities on her own then you have a special project for the two of you to do.

Dreamalittledream
02-08-2012, 12:28 PM
She sounds like she does a lot of hands on stuff with Mom. Imaginative play is so important at this age. When my 3 year olds want me to engage them and I’m busy I usually get them involved in a project then say surprise me as I can’t look until your done, this usually gets them started. Is there other kids her age who can teach her how to play?
Not exactly sure about what the parents do at home (Mom teaches Grade 1, Dad runs their family farm), but an offhand comment from the Mom about her "demanding middle child" (her words) are that she and her husband often blame each other for that. With 3 young girls in the family it must be tough to find that time. The oldest at 5 years old, as mentioned, is definitely the leader. So, with her 'bossy' older sister in school during the day and with her being the oldest at my home (my other daycare kids are aged 2 & 1) she is obviously feeling the gap.

Dreamalittledream
02-08-2012, 12:30 PM
I agree. I would keep her with the group of little ones and eventually she'll start to wander and find her own fun. I assume that there are no other children her age there. This can be tough as children of that age begin to play really well with other children and crave companionship. There's nothing you can really do about that unless you take on another child.

I might use the special one on one time as a treat (bribe). If she is able to complete X amount of activities on her own then you have a special project for the two of you to do.

Love the idea of a challenge=reward for her to be more independant.

playfelt
02-08-2012, 01:29 PM
Can you play up on the "now you are the biggest" as in give her the role her older sister takes at home. Let her make some decisions like what story should you read, should you get out the mega blocks or the bristle blocks, give her responsibilities. If she wants to hang around you then she has to do what you are doing. Not fair that you have to do what she wants to do all the time.

Momof4
02-08-2012, 04:13 PM
It certainly seems like she's trying to manipulate you as much as possible to see how powerful she can be in her new environment. 4 year olds are very, very clever and you have to take charge from the beginning. I agree with Judy that if you leave her alone and don't buy into her game she will get bored of trying to get your full attention and will start to play with some things. I bet she'll give up within a week if you just acknowledge her and encourage her with words but don't fall into her little trap.