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  #1  
Old 01-15-2016, 03:11 PM
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Default Stop Following Me - Go Play!

I have four kids enrolled, all of them part time and never all on the same day. And none of them will go play on their own. They seem to just want to follow me around all day, constantly talking, asking what I'm doing, telling me they're bored, asking to watch a movie, or asking to play a game on the computer. I don't allow electronics often (a movie is rare, and playing on the computer is limited to just a few minutes a day because that's all they'd do if I allowed it. I'd think they would get it that bugging me about it won't get them anywhere). The ages are 10 months, 2 years, 6 years, and 7 years. Most of the time I end up with opposite ages on the same day, like the 2 year old with the 7 year old, or the 10 month old with the 6 year old. So they don't really have a play mate their own age on the days they're here, and I understand they can get bored. But I have a little playroom with a variety of things they could play with, and it's organized and arranged to invite play, but they choose to follow me around instead. I'm trying to teach them to play on their own and not be so dependent on adults for entertainment or to be their play mate. But it's not working... Any suggestions on how to teach them to play on their own? I keep telling them to go play like NannyDE used to talk about, but they say they don't want to, they want to watch a movie instead. Or they throw a fit like in the 2 yr old's case. For example, if I try to send her off to go play while I prepare lunch, she won't go on her own and she'll launch into a fit if I try to gently lead her out of the kitchen. So lunch preparation can get really stressful. I make lunch prep as quick and easy as possible, but with a kid or two under foot in my tiny kitchen, it takes a lot longer than it should. I just want to tell them, "Stop following me! Go Play!"
Since I have so few kids on some days, there are times I don't have anything else I have to do and I could play with them, but I don't want them to get dependent on that. What would you do in those moments when you don't have anything you have to do, but you want them to learn to play on their own? Just so there isn't any misunderstanding, I do play with them throughout the day, I'm just trying to teach them to play on their own and not expect me to spend the entire day playing with them. I'm right there with them during lunch and snacks, going for walks around the neighborhood, during craft time or other table work, I play with them when they first get here and are trying to settle in for the day or at other random times of the day. So they are definitely getting enough interaction from me.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:37 PM
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Tell them " stop following me and go play" in a stern voice. I am currently doing this with a 2 year old and she is finally doing it, doesn't follow me nearly as much and has actually begun to play. Developmentally her play is not where it should be but it's a start. She is also here part time and I find kids who are part time can be the worst because you can't influance them as much in terms of behaviors. I also praise for independent play. "I really like how you are playing by yourself, it is a big help to me, thank you". That helps them know that you aren't ignoring them, they are helping you.

I also 'pretend' to read on my ipad to get them to go play . I do this with my own kids too. Today my eldest daughter stayed home and her (aged 6) and my other daughter (aged 3)played independently for roughly 6 hours with meal breaks. That is what children should be doing. Not constant input from adults and electronics.
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:53 PM
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I have a 4 yr old who just finished his second week. The first week he was awful with that. We have worked on "go play toys" rinse and repeat and it has been much better the last couple of days. But he is here 7:30-4:30 M-F and I honestly think that helps. It seems harder for the part timers to catch on.
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Old 01-15-2016, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
Tell them " stop following me and go play" in a stern voice. I am currently doing this with a 2 year old and she is finally doing it, doesn't follow me nearly as much and has actually begun to play. Developmentally her play is not where it should be but it's a start. She is also here part time and I find kids who are part time can be the worst because you can't influance them as much in terms of behaviors. I also praise for independent play. "I really like how you are playing by yourself, it is a big help to me, thank you". That helps them know that you aren't ignoring them, they are helping you.

I also 'pretend' to read on my ipad to get them to go play . I do this with my own kids too. Today my eldest daughter stayed home and her (aged 6) and my other daughter (aged 3)played independently for roughly 6 hours with meal breaks. That is what children should be doing. Not constant input from adults and electronics.
I'm afraid to "pretend" to read or do any work on my laptop when I have the 6 or 7 yr olds because I'm afraid theyll go home and talk about how all I do is read my kindle or "play" on my computer. I'm having a time with those two with exaggerating things 7 yr old was allowed to watch a movie over Christmas break one day while 2 yr old dcg napped, and in her eyes she'd watched movies "all day" and then told her mom that . I corrected her but I don't know what she says I do that I don't hear her tell dcm. So I'm afraid to do anything
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:00 PM
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To be honest, if you direct play for small increments throughout the day, not all day but part of the day it will lead to times where they will independently play. I do free play in the morning before breakfast, then babies take a morning nap which is quiet time, some legos or coloring books are brought out. This activity has a max of 15 to 20 minutes. I might sneak in some PBS cartoons for a bit. We do music time which is just some fun music and they get to dance, if the weather is right we'll head outside. I do a storytime as well, normally they can stand either one good book or a couple short ones. Their attention spans at these ages are very short and a little interaction even in short bits will lead them to play independently when you need them to because you'll spark their imaginations and they'll get sick of you eventually. I try to take the kids lead, if I notice I'm being followed which usually happens when I try to sneak in some extra cleaning or projects during the day, that's my cue to lead an activity for a little while or give them some ideas of things to do. Do you have arts and craft supplies, playdough, things like this can really occupy their time for longer.
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
I'm afraid to "pretend" to read or do any work on my laptop when I have the 6 or 7 yr olds because I'm afraid theyll go home and talk about how all I do is read my kindle or "play" on my computer. I'm having a time with those two with exaggerating things 7 yr old was allowed to watch a movie over Christmas break one day while 2 yr old dcg napped, and in her eyes she'd watched movies "all day" and then told her mom that . I corrected her but I don't know what she says I do that I don't hear her tell dcm. So I'm afraid to do anything
I keep a book in the playroom. I 'read' while I observe their play. Lets the dcks know that I am 'busy' and 'unavailable' and off they go. I will also keep my clipboard and paperwork downstairs. I tell them I am 'busy' and can't play.

It can take a bit of time, esp for dcks who are used to adult led fun, but they will get there.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MunchkinWrangler View Post
To be honest, if you direct play for small increments throughout the day, not all day but part of the day it will lead to times where they will independently play.
I feel like this is the problem. I end up directing their play anytime we have free play. I lead activities throughout the day (music time, "exercising", crafts, special activities, story time, etc), and then at free play they seem to think they can't do anything without me playing with them then too. I understand they don't have anyone their own age to play with (like I said, I usually have two opposite ages at once: 10 month old and 6 yr old for example), but I feel like they should be able to play alone sometimes too. With the two school age dcgs, I do enforce a "quiet time" during nap time and they are given quiet activities or toys to play with in a room away from the nappers and myself (where I can still supervise, but where they can't talk to me the whole time and beg me to play with them). They hate quiet time and say it's just so boring But I tell them it's that or nap I would like to see them be able to direct their own play as well, during free play. At 6 & 7 years old, they shouldn't need my attention or direction so much, even if they are playing alone. Especially considering how much "adult led" stuff there is throughout the day already.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
I feel like this is the problem. I end up directing their play anytime we have free play. I lead activities throughout the day (music time, "exercising", crafts, special activities, story time, etc), and then at free play they seem to think they can't do anything without me playing with them then too. I understand they don't have anyone their own age to play with (like I said, I usually have two opposite ages at once: 10 month old and 6 yr old for example), but I feel like they should be able to play alone sometimes too. With the two school age dcgs, I do enforce a "quiet time" during nap time and they are given quiet activities or toys to play with in a room away from the nappers and myself (where I can still supervise, but where they can't talk to me the whole time and beg me to play with them). They hate quiet time and say it's just so boring But I tell them it's that or nap I would like to see them be able to direct their own play as well, during free play. At 6 & 7 years old, they shouldn't need my attention or direction so much, even if they are playing alone. Especially considering how much "adult led" stuff there is throughout the day already.
Ah, I see! Well, then I just would say I'm sorry that you're bored! My 2 year DCG does this sometimes, eventually I have to tell her go play and that what I'm doing is boring and it's not fun. She will finally get the point. I get that it does get frustrating when you have a shadow all day. But I do agree that you shouldn't have to put on a show every minute of the day. And that is hard to have opposite age groups because they can't really play together. It is almost easier when there is a bigger group because they easily entertain each other.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preschool/daycare teacher View Post
I'm afraid to "pretend" to read or do any work on my laptop when I have the 6 or 7 yr olds because I'm afraid theyll go home and talk about how all I do is read my kindle or "play" on my computer. I'm having a time with those two with exaggerating things 7 yr old was allowed to watch a movie over Christmas break one day while 2 yr old dcg napped, and in her eyes she'd watched movies "all day" and then told her mom that . I corrected her but I don't know what she says I do that I don't hear her tell dcm. So I'm afraid to do anything
I tell my parents directly that this is what I do and I encourage them to do it at home. I am confident in what I do in my daycare so their opinions don't bother me. If they don't like that I encourage independent play than my program isn't for them! Lack of independent play is a HUGE epidemic in my opinion. Being bored is what breeds creativity and ideas. Children need lack of stimulation to exercise that part of their brain. I am very passionate about inspiring independent play.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:20 AM
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Ah, I see! Well, then I just would say I'm sorry that you're bored! My 2 year DCG does this sometimes, eventually I have to tell her go play and that what I'm doing is boring and it's not fun. She will finally get the point. I get that it does get frustrating when you have a shadow all day. But I do agree that you shouldn't have to put on a show every minute of the day. And that is hard to have opposite age groups because they can't really play together. It is almost easier when there is a bigger group because they easily entertain each other.
It's amazing the awesome imaginations that are born from boredom. I have ZERO issues with kids being bored because I think it inspires them to create play.



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Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I tell my parents directly that this is what I do and I encourage them to do it at home. I am confident in what I do in my daycare so their opinions don't bother me. If they don't like that I encourage independent play than my program isn't for them! Lack of independent play is a HUGE epidemic in my opinion. Being bored is what breeds creativity and ideas. Children need lack of stimulation to exercise that part of their brain. I am very passionate about inspiring independent play.


Independent play is the common goal for ALL my DCK's.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:31 AM
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To be honest I find school aged kids to be the toughest because they have become so used to every minute of their day being scheduled at school. In general I find SA kids to need a much higher level of physical activity than I can provide in a mixed aged in home day care and move them out as soon as they head off to K.

That said, I'd probably not do open ended free play in your case. I'd set up independent table activities (3-4) and they can rotate through those (use a timer).
My SA kids love the maga-tiles, Legos, paint dot markers, dry erase boards, etc. I'm also not opposed to educational screen time with SA kids, as this is a case of what's appropriate for littles isn't always appropriate for bigs.

Because while boredom can lead to creativity in theory, the reality is that it usually leads to trouble And SA kids in particular can get into BIG trouble while bored
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:38 AM
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I'm afraid to "pretend" to read or do any work on my laptop when I have the 6 or 7 yr olds because I'm afraid theyll go home and talk about how all I do is read my kindle or "play" on my computer. I'm having a time with those two with exaggerating things 7 yr old was allowed to watch a movie over Christmas break one day while 2 yr old dcg napped, and in her eyes she'd watched movies "all day" and then told her mom that . I corrected her but I don't know what she says I do that I don't hear her tell dcm. So I'm afraid to do anything
Pretend to be written ting 'Daycare Notes'
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:47 AM
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To be honest I find school aged kids to be the toughest because they have become so used to every minute of their day being scheduled at school. In general I find SA kids to need a much higher level of physical activity than I can provide in a mixed aged in home day care and move them out as soon as they head off to K.

That said, I'd probably not do open ended free play in your case. I'd set up independent table activities (3-4) and they can rotate through those (use a timer).
My SA kids love the maga-tiles, Legos, paint dot markers, dry erase boards, etc. I'm also not opposed to educational screen time with SA kids, as this is a case of what's appropriate for littles isn't always appropriate for bigs.

Because while boredom can lead to creativity in theory, the reality is that it usually leads to trouble And SA kids in particular can get into BIG trouble while bored
I so agree with school age being the toughest The six year old is homeschooled so she's with me all day 1-2 days/week but when there is no school I don't have her. The 7 year old is just with me on school breaks and during the summers, but since her school is on the balanced calender thing, I have her fairly often even during the school year. One week for the fall break, two weeks for Christmas break, two weeks for spring break, plus any additional days here and there. So the 6 & 7 yr old are pretty much never here on the same day/week.
I like the table activity idea I don't have extra tables I can set up with activities, but I could put things out on the kitchen table for them.
The 6 yr old is about to drive me crazy today. Every single thing I'd sit out for her, she'd say something like, "I don't feel like that". Or if she did do the activity, it would be for just a couple minutes, and not with a very good attitude about it. She just wanted to lay around and tell me how bored she was, or constantly bug (yes, bug. Not hug ) her little sister.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:24 PM
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Break out their natural curiosity and some damp rags. Get them organizing, cleaning, making a schedule of play for themselves. Complete w charts and tables.
Make them engage w the youngers. Ok. I see you've finished the big kid activities. You can read to the baby. You can play towers w the baby. You can teach the baby how to put on socks. Etc.
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