She won't play by herself

Caitlin - posted on 07/16/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My daughter doesn't like to play by herself. She wines all the time because we don't spend 24/7 paying attention to her. If we walk away for anything or even if we just walk around the corner for less than 5 seconds she screams her head off. What can I do to get her to be ok with playing by herself?

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Sarah - posted on 07/17/2009

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Start with putting up a baby gate but keeping the door open, while you two are in one room and she is in the next. let her cry, but keep reminding her that she is safe, and you are right here if anything happens. then gradually move farther, and start getting more work done that you need. i had to do that, eventually i had to just start putting her in her room and telling her she NEEDS independent play time because mommy said so. My daughter is 2 and is an attention hog. She still whines all the time, but not as bad as she used to be, Atleast I can get her to play by herself for a bit now.

Jennifer - posted on 07/16/2009

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My son is almost 3 now, but I remember laying on the floor with him with all the toys around. I'd be there physically for safety but didn't get involved so he learned he could play by himself fine. He's an only child and enjoys playing by himself now. But you have to be careful because forcing them and leaving them alone will only make it worse. If you lay there and maybe stare up at the ceiling, they'll find that playing with the toys is more entertaining. Plus it helped me relax at the end of a stressfull day to literally do nothing. Then eventually you can leave the room and she won't even notice. She'll come to check on what you're doing, and as long as it isn't more fun...the toys will win.

Casey - posted on 07/16/2009

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my little boy is 11 months old and never plays by himself, if he does it's only for a few minutes and then he will realise that I am gone and then he will come looking for and his usually screamng and crying, lol. Its frustrating because you just want them to give you a break but they are just to little to understand, I found thatDylan prefers to play with my pots and pans and a couple of wooden spoons to bang on them with then his own toys so I usually put on a fun kids dvd with lots of movment and bight colours and singing and give him my pots and pans and he might play there for a little bit, but there is not a great deal else that you can do, she will eventually play by herself one day.

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Jessica - posted on 07/24/2009

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I suggest baby waring! My first child was the same way and when I put her in a ring sling or a baby wrap she wasn't so fussy and she learned that I was willing to hold her but I had things I had to do first. When you are waring your child in one of the many wraps or slings that are one the market your back wont hurt nearly as bad as waring them in one of those baby carriers you buy at Wal-mart which lets you get things done around the house. I personally like the moby wrap for the security of the baby and the ease of doing things with it on.

Nina - posted on 07/24/2009

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That is a stage that kids go through so be prepared to have a tag-a-long wherever you go!!!

Caitlin - posted on 07/24/2009

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My Daughter is 10 months old. I talk to her and tell her what I'm doing to let her know that I'm still there. But, she screams and cries no matter what. I can't hold her all the time because we just moved and I'm still trying to unpack. She will stand next to me and scream and cry till I just give up and put her in her crib. I give her toys, I play with her for hours on end, I give her what I think is plenty of attention. Yet she continues.

Keli - posted on 07/17/2009

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Melody is correct. Most children start with separation anxiety at around 9 months old. In their world, if they can't see you, you don't exist! And that's scary to them! That can last anywhere from a few months to a year and a half or so. It varies with each child!

If your child is a little older say 2 or 3, most children don't start self entertaining until at least 3. If your child is older and still wants you to be with her constantly, I would suggest getting verbally involved with her activities. For example... she can play with her barbies. You could be in the kitchen and set up a play scenario for her to act out. You could say "It's really cold outside today, perhaps you should dress Barbie in something warm so she can play in the pretend snow." Or anything along those lines. When my daughter (who's 3) wants me to play with her, it's usually cause she's bored and needs a change of pace. Maybe try taking out some play dough or crayons.

Melody - posted on 07/17/2009

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How old is your daughter? It's normal for children to go through seperation anxiety at about 9 months - they suddenly realise that they're an individual and not a part of mum... I'm reading a fantastic book at the moment called "Growing Kids with Character". My daughter is now 6!!! and I'm learning that every child has their own individual needs - she still needs to know where I am and doesn't like to be too far from me. This book shows how to 'work' with and understand the 4 main character types most common in ALL people.

Deanne - posted on 07/16/2009

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How old is your daughter?
My son was the same. I was told to talk to him calmly & tell him what your doing, why your leaving the room & you'll be right back. When you hear them cry just say your not far away etc...
It takes time for them to realise you haven't left the planet when they can't see you. Just stay calm & don't make a fuss & with time she'll understand your not far away.

Minnie - posted on 07/16/2009

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She's an infant, and human infants are very vulnerable, both emotionally and physically. In her little baby mind she's not safe when she's not with you.



I don't sweat my nine month old needing to be with me 24/7. She just comes right along with me. If I have to leave the room, even if it's for ten seconds, I don't give it a second thought, up she goes onto my hip. To the bathroom, wherever. And if I'm walking around frequently tidying up she's in a sling on my hip. It's second nature.

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