Can you spend too much time with your child?

Can you spend too much time with your child? I’m a stay at home mum who has a small travel business. I spend a LOT of time with my son (who’s almost 2,5 years old) when he’s not at school. He goes to school 5 days a week and stays there until around 3/4pm 4 out of 5 afternoons. Why? Because he’s getting bored at home with me, he wants & loves having friends to play with and it’s excellent for his development both socially and mentally. Well this is my opinion, yours might be different and that’s ok to.

But when weekends, school holidays or public holidays roll round he is obviously at home with me ALL THE TIME. Now I feel that I spend a lot of time with him playing, reading or doing whatever it is he wants to do and, to be honest, it doesn’t feel like he’s learning the art of playing alone. He always wants me to play with or entertain him and I don’t think that’s healthy. At school I’m told he plays well independently as well as with other children so why can’t he do it at home? If there are other children about he’s, usually, quite happy to play ‘alone’ but when he’s at home he’s not so happy about the ‘time to play alone for a bit my boy’ instruction.

So I’ve done some research and it all indicates that you need to start playing with them and then, as they become more engrossed in the activity, slowly do less with them so that they play alone. And independent play doesn’t necessarily mean they are playing alone in a room or space but rather that you are in the same room but doing something else and they become content in that arrangement. I can totally understand why twins are so much easier now; if T had a twin they would be totally content playing together and would need my intervention far less.

And don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I don’t ever want to play with T, what I’m saying is it would be nice if we could find a balance between playing together and him playing alone so I could get on with things that I need to do. Like make supper! Every meal I have to make means I turn the TV on because it keeps T’s attention for a long time (I’m actually amazed how long he can concentrate on a TV show if it’s something he likes) which is not ideal and not the way I would ideally like to do things but you gotta do what you gotta do. Right?

So I’m going to persevere with trying to get T to play alone for short stretches and hope (fingers crossed) that soon he’ll be able to play independently soon. Patience is not one of my strong points.

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