My oldest child Tadpole seems eternally bored when it comes independent play.
Note first off that I am speaking of my FIRSTBORN, who requires much attention and has never been as self-sufficient as any of my subsequent children.
Puzzles, games, trucks, books, cars, Legos, trains, ride-on toys, LightBrite, crayons, sticker books, craft supplies, dinosaurs, Space Shuttles, activity workbooks, shape sorters, educational toys, an entire science box filled with some of his favorite things like magnifying glasses and pulleys and compasses… oh my!… but put the kid in Quiet Time for one hour and he is completely, utterly BORED.
This, as you may guess, presents a daily challenge for me to help encourage and teach him to play on his own, discover, invent, create, and enjoy. WITHOUT bothering mommy, who desperately needs one – even one – short hour in which to experience down time (or rather cook dinner, feed the baby, or fold laundry, as is more often the case.)
In my world of chaos and activity, baby feeding and toddler taming, tantrums and sibling rivalry, Quiet Time has recently become my biggest challenge: how to understand my child enough to figure out what makes him tick. Or at least, what will motivate him to play alone for the next 60 ticks on the clock.
When we are successful at finding something that does engage him, it honestly is cause for celebration. Today was one of those days.
Pennies! Who knew that dirty pennies would drive my son to the kitchen sink where he could mix water, soap, and vinegar (“because, Mommy, that is the ONLY liquid that will truly clean a penny”) into a large plastic bowl and methodically rub Q-tips on each one, slowing bringing back some of their lost luster.
Of course, tomorrow is a new day. And another challenge: what could occupy his busy, curious mind today?