Dear Miss Faith, My boy is 3 ½ , and he’s used to having me as his main playmate. I would like him to start being able to play on his own more, but when I try to make him do it, it feels like I’m being mean. How can I get him to play independently?
Dear Mom, I absolutely agree that it’s valuable for kids to play independently, both for their own exploration of the world, and for your ability to have down-time and own peace of mind! But if your kid is used to having you at his beck and call, how do you change this pattern? Certainly trying to “make” him do it doesn’t feel good to anyone; it simply feels like you’re pushing him away. The key to helping a child learn to play independently is to alternate times of paying direct attention to them with times of being ‘busy.’ There are tricks to both of these to make them successful.
Paying Direct Attention If you’re like many moms, you’ve spent the last couple of years ‘playing along’ with your child. If he tells you to be the lion, you roar. If he wants to play with the truck you’re playing with, you give it to him. This can start to get old after awhile, but you don’t know what else to do. Continue reading
OK, many of us are settling into winter. It’s cold, it feels like so much effort to get out the door, but if we don’t go out, we end up with crazy energy in the house. And we have three more months to go! This is only the beginning! How will we possibly get through?
Outside Play My first piece of advice is to get outside to play AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! Try to do it every day, and make sure you actually do it more days than you don’t. Toddlers enjoy winter weather if it becomes a regular part of their life. It makes them robust and healthy, and it makes indoor time SO much more enjoyable. They won’t keep their mittens on? Use adult-sized SmartWool socks, put over their hand and up past the elbow. They’re quite roomy inside and actually don’t seem to make children any more awkward than any other type of mitten.
They won’t keep their hat on? Continue reading
One of the things that we can do to help our children find their place in in the world is to help them to become well-balanced. A wonderful way to think of this is in terms of virtues. Do they talk too much and dominate the conversation? Being eloquent is a virtue, but it needs to be balanced out by the virtue of empathy, so they can learn to ask questions of others, and listen to their responses. Or you could think of it being balanced out by a sense of fairness, that they learn to take turns leading the conversation. So, instead of trying to squash down their talkativeness, we raise them up in another area so that they can excel in their talking AND their listening. Continue reading