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Old 01-16-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
Teexie
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How to encourage solo play?

Or is this just a stage? DD is almost 21 months. I'm not expecting to be able to kick back and leisurely read 10 chapters in a book or anything, but I think it would be awesome if I could maybe unload the dishwasher, or send a text, or walk into the other room for 10 seconds to put something away, or pee, without her crying and running after me, or pushing and tugging at me.

I have tried praising her when she is playing by herself, but that completely backfires. As soon as she knows I'm paying attention, I must join her immediately. I also have "special" toys and busy bags and things for her to do. She loves them but has no interest if she has to play by herself.

I would be okay with ignoring her while I get something done, but she will tug and push and pull at me and make it borderline impossible to do what I'm trying to do. And that makes her hurt herself...earlier today she was pulling at my arm while I was washing dishes, her hand slipped while she was pulling as hard as she could and she smacked her head on the counter. Not the first time that has happened.

MIL told me this was a stage and she'll be way more independent when she's 2. I guess I just need to hear it from someone else, or get some suggestions on what I can do.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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I dunno. We always say our daughter is completely codependent and up our butt. She's coming up on 28 months now and it hasn't gotten better.

Funny thing is, she loved playing by herself as a baby and one of our goals in her developmental therapy was that she would actually let me play with her (she was slightly speech/fine motor delayed, but I think it was a fluke as she tested out almost immediately after).

But I can't do anything solo all day long. I feel bad, but when I have to do something dangerous like empty the dishwasher, I flat out tell her to go away, read a book, find her penguins, etc. I find if I'm very specific, she will comply and go find said item, leaving me time to get the clean knives put away.

But she likes to be where we are, watching what we do and it's showing no sign of changing. I just tell myself that I will miss it someday.

If I really and truly need a break, I can put her on the couch with the kindle and she will do that alone. A useful tool for cooking dinner if it's something that takes extra effort to prepare. Or I'll put her in her highchair with playdoh or crayons or paints.... Depends. Playdoh, paints, slime, etc will buy me 5 minutes, the kindle buys me a lot more. So if my hands are going to be covered in raw meat and egg, etc, then I need more time. If I'm just opening cans, etc and can be more available, then the shorter time span things.

Most days, it means that I don't do things while she's awake. She doesn't pay attention to her toys or wants me there with her. None of the normal parenting 'tricks' work. She simply wants to do what we're doing.

So, yeah, it might be a phase for you that will improve in a few months. Or.. Might be her personality.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
Teexie
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Re: How to encourage solo play?

Thank you, that made me feel better to know I'm not alone in this. My DD sounds just like yours in a lot of what you said. I agree that I will miss it someday and I really enjoy playing with her and having her be my little sidekick all day...but yeah, I need a minute to put the knives away. Or just breathe for a second. DH has her in another room right now and I can hear her crying and yelling "mama!!!!!" Sigh.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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My DD was totally like this until DS came. Then I think she had to get used to playing alone while I was nursing, etc (although in the same room). Now I can usually unload the dishwasher, cook something messy, etc without her underfoot. She's also almost 3, so maybe age plays a big part in it too...?

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:54 PM   #5
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Both my girls were EXTREMELY clingy from 18-24 months. My 2nd is still clingier than my first, but at 2 she is a lot better. It varies day to day.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mibarra View Post
Both my girls were EXTREMELY clingy from 18-24 months. My 2nd is still clingier than my first, but at 2 she is a lot better. It varies day to day.
My DD is *way* more clingy than DS was. She is insistently asking for "up" and needs to be in our faces all the time.

Oh and shes going on 19 months.

I'm mobile.... sorry for the typos!
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