25 March 2006

Piquing toddler's interest in toys by playing with them yourself

Eric has discovered that his casual interest in a toy often ignites his daughter's:

Sometimes my 2-year old daughter just gets bored. She wanders around aimlessly, periodically asking adults for "more Elmo? more Wiggles?" only to be refused.

The hack is this: I find one of her toys and start playing with it myself. This works best for me if I pretend that she couldn't possibly be interested in it and I'm just getting it out to play by myself. As a matter of fact, I try to do it in a different room and make enough noise that she can't stand not knowing what I'm up to. About 60% of the time, this is enough to launch her into quietly playing by herself for at least 15 minutes.

And sometimes it reminds me to just stay on the floor and play with her for an hour or two, which ends up making us both happier.

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Great tip! I also find that if I play with my daughter and "teach her how to pretend", later I will find her by herself playing the same games. For example, she loves that new show "Wonder Pets", so we created our own "Wonder Pets" pretend game using her stuffed animals. Now she runs around the house rescuing animals by herself.

Funny! Sometimes, I will pick up some of my son's books and read them until he comes over to me.

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