Now that your kids are getting up there in years (you know, all of four or five), they’re becoming a little more wily, a little less prone to obvious suggestions like, “why don’t you go play with your dolls?” or “how about dancing to that They Might Be Giants CD?”
In fact, one they hear the words from your lips, they may be less inclined than ever to do that incredibly fun thing you just suggested. Why? Because you suggested it. Wouldn’t want to give you that satisfaction, now, would they?
Plus, it sounds totally boring when you say it. Way more boring, than say, clinging to your leg and whining about being bored.
So, when you want them to play on their own, and they won’t accept any of the games you’ve laid out for them, what do you do?
Sneak them in. Seriously. I know I’m a big fan of fooling the kids, but this one is a little easier than most. Instead of an outright suggestion, try arousing some emotion in them about the activity and don’t suggest they do it at all. For instance, this morning, after disentangling myself from my twins for a half second, I looked wistfully (well, I like to think it was wistful-looking, I’m not, actually, the best actress) at the playroom door and told a quick story about how Auntie Angie and I used to line up all our stuffed animals as audience members for a show we would put on for them.
Do I need to tell you the happy ending, there? Now, to my kids’ credit, it took them about a half hour to engage in the activity (I think they’re a bit wise to me), but the temptation to do something like Auntie Angie used to do was too much. And poof! 30 minutes of free time!