Thursday, March 26, 2009

playing










I've been thinking a lot about the boys' play lately "(as I am prone to overthink things) and about how I want them to be able to play by themselves. In looking around and trying to "catch" them playing these last few weeks, I've realized that they do play alone, or with each other, pretty well. In the book I'm reading the author talks about the adult being close by, maybe working in the kitchen or sitting doing some handwork, but not direcly playing "with" the children. The children are in their own dreamy childhood world and the adult brings something different to their play that is not needed or even desireable. That really resonated with me, as do so many of the Waldorfy concepts. I've also been reading some very good blog posts about play as well. One is here. Angelina of "The Little Travelers" often writes about the importance of letting children play freely. A recent post is here. I have definitely noticed that I tend to want to step in and direct them, "help," and not let them problem solve on their own. That is so wrong (and my boys do let me know when my "help" is unwelcome). So I am learning to step back and not interfere, on the one hand, and to encourage them to play by themselves, on the other. One thing I don't know how to handle yet is the "look at me" syndrome. You know, the child wants the adult to "look at me" every two seconds or so. I did notice the other day when we were outdoors, and I took my knitting out with me and the children could see I was knitting but also aware of them, the "look at me's" died down. Hmm.

I so loved your comments about magazines yesterday! How fun to learn what everyone loves and what everyone is giving up. It seems like many of us are in the same boat with getting more and more from our blogs and flickr groups. Carry on.

9 comments:

Sarah said...

I am off to read the "play" posts. Here are my thoughts on play:
http://maymomvt.blogspot.com/2008/03/old-fashioned-play.html

My kids STILL settle into whatever they are doing in a good way when I am actively about doing things around the house.

woolanthropy said...

I really must commend you and anyone else who parents so consciously and thoughtfully. The world of play is so beautiful and mysterious. That special place where the imagination and exploration runs free sometimes eludes as as we become staunchly adult. Play is one of the real joys of childhood.

On a side note, may inquire where you got the doxy scooter?

Melissa said...

I, too, believe that we get too in the way of the work of our children. As a Montessoiran, I come from a slightly different place, but the basic beliefs are the same. My only useful advice is to try to direct anything back to the child-- such as "you must be proud of your ____" they want you to look at, instead of giving your own opinions. That, and doing your OWN work-- you've already found the beauty of that approach!

I also believe that it is so important for children, even very little children, to watch adults doing handwork, reading, solving a crossword, whatever-- instead of interacting with them exclusively. It's a very "adult" way to be together, and shows that to build our selves we must do our own work, whatever that may be!

Tava said...

My problem is that Noah seems to be testing boudaries with all his toys and tends to be destructive to the house (mostly the wood floors) so I find myself telling him no a lot. I hate that so much. I can't wait until he can play safely and I can learn to back off. I would love to hear more about how the play progresses. And please tell me where you got that dog "car".

megan said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/magazine/29food-t-000.html?_r=1
saw this and thought of you, bean queen.

Mary Beth said...

I so appreciate everyone's thoughtful comments on play. It's so good to know that others are thinking along the same lines.

About the wooden dog scooter--it's a handmade gift from one of my parents' friends.

Maribeth said...

Good words. I've never commented before, but I wanted to chime in. My kids are a little older - 5 and 8. It is so true that they get in their own groove when my husband and I just stay out of their play/work. What can be difficult is when we are hanging out with other families and another parent (usually a mother) continually micromanages what the kids are doing, resolving all problems and disputes. I suppose that is just a symptom of the "over-parenting" of today.

ella said...

this is such a great post. backing off is a reminder i need often. i have only 1 child who prefers to play with adults and really wants hands on attention and help - it has been challenging to encourage him to "lose himself" in play but we are getting there.
what a lovely blog to stumble upon again.

Alicia said...

Thank-you so much for this post and the links, it's just what I needed.