Today, I tried to get him started on a bit of play with the dinosaurs and some blocks, hoping to take my leave after a while and let him play independently. Probably the wrong thing to get him started on, but it's what he was wanting to play with at the time. Needless to say, my plan failed.
See, I've been thinking about a great article I read several months ago on the Parenting Passageway. It was a post from 2008 called Fostering Creative Play. It's about the importance of children's independent playtime and how to foster it. So I took a look again and the last sentence in her opening statement popped out at me.
If you constantly entertain your child, you will be giving her the false impression that the world exists for her own pleasure and that she is without resources of her own. This is bound to cause difficulties later.Perhaps my difficulties aren't exactly what she was talking about. After all, Everett has no problem inventing his own games or songs, and has a very vivid imagination. Or.... perhaps, my difficulties are some of what she was addressing?
From the day he was born Everett has had several adults and children around him that were available and willing to engage him in play. The benefit is that he knows how and enjoys playing with anyone of any age and makes friends everywhere we go. The disadvantage has turned out to be that he has a hard time playing by himself. It has taken a decent amount of work over the last several months to a year (I don't remember when I started now) for him to become comfortable with independent play.
able to play independently. Along with giving me a break, it nurtures his creative spirit and helps him become more familiar with his own desires, interests and dreams. It encourages resourcefulness and innovation.
So, I'll continue to encourage boredom a little bit each day. And as tough as it is sometimes, I'm going to keep repeating, "Everett, you need to play by yourself right now," and steering him towards his toys or art supplies and walking away. It may be a long road, but we'll get there!