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  1. #1
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    The child who can NOT play!

    Maybe more of a vent than looking for solutions... however they are welcome, too! In the past I've always had kids who were great free-players. This year, however.... I have a 4 1/2 year old who does NOT know how to play. She's constantly with me...what's next, what's next? I don't know what to do. When are snacks? When's lunch? ALL DAY LONG! Now, she is the oldest, but last year she had friends her age, too and it was the same thing.
    She's not a bad kid at all, but it is EXHAUSTING!
    I did not have her from the beginning, and I think that's a big part of the reason why. Now, we do crafts, activities led by me, songs, outdoor play, etc! BUT, they are also expected to just play at times. I think that this is a very important thing for them.
    My plan for this week is to print out a lot of preschool worksheets and everytime she comes to me just pull out another one for her. She does enjoy drawing, colouring, crafts, etc. But, even that. She can't draw without asking me what she should draw!

  2. #2
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    I had a child like that as well. I had her from about the ages of 3-4. IMO, her parents were to blame. They constantly entertained her and when they weren't, they gave her the iPad.....not even the family iPad but her OWN iPad! (It blew my mind lol) They even sent it here in hopes that I'd give it to her during quiet time because she "gets bored and doesn't want to rest/sleep"!!! The poor kid had no clue how to free play! As a result, she had behaviour issues towards the other kids....mean, taking toys, lying etc. it was rough!

    I have no suggestions sorry! They pulled her to put her in full time pre school....so she could always be entertained! Lol

  3. #3
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    Have her sit down with you and make a list of activities she likes to do (draw, play dolls, play blocks etc).

    Then put this list somewhere she can reference. Every time she comes to you tell her to go choose of her list. Put the ownership on her to choose what she does.

    After a bit when she comes to you interrupt before she speaks...hand up in stop motion and say reference your list.

    She is old enough to self entertain for long periods of time. She just wasn't taught how and unfortunately it gets harder the older they get to teach them how to play.

    It is such an important skill to have!

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee-Bee View Post
    Have her sit down with you and make a list of activities she likes to do (draw, play dolls, play blocks etc).

    Then put this list somewhere she can reference. Every time she comes to you tell her to go choose of her list. Put the ownership on her to choose what she does.

    After a bit when she comes to you interrupt before she speaks...hand up in stop motion and say reference your list.

    She is old enough to self entertain for long periods of time. She just wasn't taught how and unfortunately it gets harder the older they get to teach them how to play.

    It is such an important skill to have!
    oooh. i like that!

  6. #5
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    I have had a couple of children who could not entertain themselves. When I have had these children, I have used a visual schedule, so they know what is happening during the day. They learned to know when it was expected that they participate in free play and during those time I would not be available to entertain them. Free play generally happens before meals, the last portion of quiet time, and the first and last half hour or so of the day. It took some longer than others, to realize that it was important to be able to play and use their imaginations.

  7. #6
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    This is one of the problems I find with some parents these days. They constantly entertain their child and feel that we must do the same. The child then doesn't learn how to free play. This is such an important part of a child's development. They need to use an imagination and be able to think for themselves. I have had a few like that although not to that extreme.

    Your new favorite words should be "Go play". I also don't allow the kids in my space when preparing meals and if they ask what we are having I tell them they will find out when the time comes and to go play.

    I think by you printing off worksheets it is just encouraging her to keep asking. You need to force her to think for herself by not doing for her. She needs the adults in her life to step back and let her explore on her own.

  8. #7
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    I have one child who flips out when I tell him "go play." It's actually a dirty word to him

    It's important they learn the skill like any other. Do as the others suggested and keep saying it!

  9. #8
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    I absolutely agree that the child needs to learn to play and take responsibility for her own entertainment. When my daughter was young, and I was inexperienced, she was always played with and entertained. Since the birth of our son, who is now 2 1/2, she has had to learn to play on her own. It is a skill to be acquired but it is possible. I like the previous poster's idea to make a chart or list for her to refer to. Allowing her the opportunity to choose her own activities and get into her own ideas will build her creativity. She just needs to learn how to start.

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