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How Do You Teach a Child...

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  • How Do You Teach a Child... play by themselves? When they're school-aged?

    How do you go from constantly entertaining a child, which you have come to realize is exhausting & you can't do anymore, to telling the child to GO PLAY when I don't think the child knows [/I]how[I] to play by herself?

    This child (6) is very smart, but also bossy, doesn't stop talking & interrupts conversations, will tell you NO flat out, asks a million & one questions, gets pretty much anything she wants...

    Her grandparents are raising her, and I don't know what her boundaries are. I know they're exhausted, but IMO they're the ones that have allowed her to do this, to basically--control?--them. I was with her for only an hour and I was exhausted by her (that's putting it nicely, ie. all those threads about SAers? Totally get it ).

    She needs to learn to play by herself, to GO PLAY. Are there any resources I can point them towards that may help them set some boundaries for this child, help them help her to learn to entertain herself? If I were around her more I would do more to help with this, but since I'm not...

    Thanks! Any advice/constructive criticism is welcome.

  • #2
    She will figure it out. Go play, ad nauseum until she does. Or you could offer two or three choices, let her choose one, and she must be quiet and play for 30 mins with her choice.
    And any child who tells me "no" flat out, gets to sit, quietly until they are ready to apologize and listen. I have also been known to say, "My ears are tired. There will be no more questions until I say ok again. Go talk to your friends."


    • #3
      She's family, and honestly if she were one of my dcks this would be waaaaaay easier. She was in a family DC pt before she started school & I can only imagine how that day went...for the provider

      She's a good kid, but I also sense she's one of those kids that the other kids have a hard time playing with because she has to control everything. At least my dds do.


      • #4
        I don't think kids learn this so much as are forced to do it and get better at it as they are forced to figure it out.

        I will tell my own 5 and 6 year olds "no more questions, go play" or will even set a time limit where they are not allowed to talk to me or ask my for anything for 30 minutes UNLESS they are bleeding. If they want to talk, I tell them "go talk to the kids" or "go tell your doll that" and I dont respond to questions or baiting for entertainment. Just telling them by word and action that they are not going to use me for entertainment. I will be the most boring unresponsive person to them until they get it. I wouldnt care at all if your DCK was bored. She can figure out a solution to that on her own.


        • #5
          I have learned from this forum that sometimes giving the same silly response to the incessant and unnecessary questions can help. I tried it for 5 year old DCG and it worked like a charm. At first she would just look at me like I had 4 heads and would just walk away...but she has now gone from constantly in my face to maybe 4-5 annoying questions per day.

          I always make an effort to answer legit questions that the children have about their environment because their little minds at that age are aching to learn but it was more the "What are you doing", "Why do you have that there" or "When is lunch or snack or outdoor or....whatever"...that was started to get on my nerves because it was constant.

          It took about 1 month of saying "Go play please" about 100 times a day until she finally started to venture off on her own. I felt mean and she would give me the dirtiest looks (She kind of still does LOL) but she actually plays with toys now! Yay!!

          I would also be REALLY busy a lot. I would tell her I could not play with her or chat too much because I had to do laundry, dishes, send emails, tidy up, plan tomorrow...u name it, I had to do it. I would try to be out of her sight for longer and longer every day.

          Also having some toys that are age appropriate and appealing to her would help a lot as well. You could ask DCM what she is into and try to have some of those things available for her. It is unhealthy for children to not be able to entertain themselves. They learn a lot through imaginative play so don't feel bad about separating yourself from her. It is for her own good.