Six year old who doesn't want to play with toys?!?!

[deleted account] ( 2 moms have responded )

This problem started back in March. We moved into a two story town house about two weeks before my SD's BM got fired. I'm not sure which of these factors played a bigger role. But ever since then when SD is told to play in her room, she tries to avoid it as much as possible. She is an only child, currently, but even when she has friends over, she tries not to play with her toys. She tries to talk them in to playing with coloring books or with her toy piano.

Since her BM got fired, she has been out of daycare and she has been at her mother's house full time. At her mother's house, she sits in front of the TV all day long, with a few toys, and "plays" while watching TV. ALL DAY!! So when she's here, she expects to be able to watch TV the whole time, which our TV is rarely on.

Even when she "plays" outside, she'll use the sidewalk chalk for awhile and maybe hulla hoop for a few mintues and then sits down. And just sits there! She has a bucket full of outside toys and a ROOM full of toys upstairs, but it's almost like she doesn't want to play because she doesn't want to clean up.

Tonight was the breaking point. I was cleaning downstairs and I told her to play in her room for awhile, I'd call her down when I was done cleaning and getting supper around. She went upstairs for 5 minutes and came back down with two tiny pieces of paper with hearts drawn on them and said the were for me and dad. She then sat down. I told her to go back upstairs and play. She was up there for another 10 minutes or so. I was in the kitchen for about 20 minutes and when her dad came home from the store, she was sitting on the chair in the living room. Not doing anything.

We sent her back upstairs and she came back down 10 minutes later and said "have I played enough". I was furious. I still had cleaning and cooking to do and I didn't want her under my feet at that time and she hasn't played in her room for several weeks because the weather has been so nice, she's been outside. I sent her back up stairs, told her that if she didn't play with her toys, we were going to give them away to kids that would play with them. She seriously came back down stairs 15 minutes later!!

Any advice?!?!?! She had a ton of fun toys. She has a lot of space to play. And she would normally help me cook and clean, but I wanted it done fast and right this time. But this one night is not the only night it's happened! What should I do?!?!?!


Jacklyn - posted on 08/02/2009




Is it possible she is stressed because her entire routine changed? Also, maybe she is missing her friends from day care? Have you tried talking to her and asking her why she doesn't want to play with her toys? I was never really into toys at that age, I would much rather have been drawing, playing the keyboard or talking with people. Maybe the toys just aren't her thing, and she needs other options as to how to occupy her time. You could create a picture chart for her and tell her she needs to exhaust all those things (draw a picture with at least 5 colors of crayon, build a house for a doll, etc) before she is able to come down. You could try a timer that is visual so she can see how much time she has left. It might encourage her to find something to do. I hope some of this helps you!


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[deleted account]

I like the idea of giving her a goal for her play time. And the use of a timer. Thanks for your great ideas. I do think that it has a lot to do with the change in routine. I also think that she is going back to "testing" what can be done at our house vs her mother's house. Since she gets away with just watching TV all day there, I think that she's trying to see if she can get away with that here.

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