Playing by themselves

Teri - posted on 09/06/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old boy does not like to be left alone to play. He has to have someone playing with him or in the same room. He also won't lay in his bed to go to sleep. There is something in there that scares him. I am not sure what to do to get him over this or to understand what is going on. Can anyone give me some insight on what to do?

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Kaye - posted on 09/06/2009

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Hello :) is your son used to someone always being there when he plays? If so you need to gradually break away and teach him he can have fun playing alone, which is going to help him with other insecurities he has too. You could start by playing a game with him eg cars & garage, play for a few minutes then say to him, " see if you can line up 10 cars before I've been and put the kettle on" give him loads of praise & encouragment, shouting in from the kitchen " have you done it yet I'm coming back" Then gradually build up from there. It may be a very slow process leaving for an extra minute each time. The thing is he knows you're coming back, and will trust that you do. His reward being you play with him some more, before leaving him with another instruction while you leave. Eventually you can say you're leaving without giving him an instruction, if it heps set a timer for 5 minutes, explain you will be back to join him when it goes off. The key is to do it at his pace and with what he feels comfortable with. Your son does need to learn this social skill in preparation for school and other social interactions or he will be a very worried little man when you go off and leave him at any time. This sort of solo play also encouages imagination and the feeling of being independent. I think the other problem will deminish once you have cracked the independent play, as I feel it's linked to him not being happy with his own company. Good Luck xx

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