In the six years of my sons life we have struggled with independent play, entertaining ones self, not needing me for every minute, and thinking of things to do on his own! My daughter (3) however, is often found in her room playing with her beloved dollhouse, singing to her dolls, folding their clothes, you get the picture. In the beginning I found myself losing my mind with the constant attachment and the need to be entertained! I wanted to get the dishes done, vacuum, fold the laundry, and possibly get some sewing done. I had some wonderful wisdom passed down to me a few years ago and she told me, in the beginning set a timer and tell him he must stay in his room for 10 minutes…ALONE…he can play with trucks, build puzzles, look at books, LAY ON THE FLOOR, just so long as he is in his room ALONE! Well that was a struggle at first, but to my amazement he must have got the memo that he was either going to be bored for 10 minutes, or he could do something constructive.
Since then we have OBVIOUSLY lengthened the time he spends alone, and now I can tell him to go in his room and find something to do, and he could be in there for 20-30 minutes by himself. (which trust me is AWESOME!) With age I also think that his need for constant entertainment has changed, but I also believe it is how we have trained him. About 1 1/2 years ago we started to read the Little House On The Praire books. I took immediate note that the Ingall girls played a LOT by themselves and with each other, without the mother! She was mending, cooking, cleaning, caring for the baby…that is just how it was. I thought to myself that our children should be shown the same values in mother working and not constantly playing… so I stopped doing the “chores” during nap time, and after bedtime, and started doing them while they were awake playing outside, playing under my feet, but non the less with out me. This was such a relief to me because I started to gain a little more “rest” time after they were put to bed.
I believe as a homeschooling mother “rest” and some refreshing alone time is SO important. Even more important than alone time, is gaining strength, wisdom, and peace from reading the Bible and being still with the LORD! Asking Him to guide my husband and I in the ways our family should go. Life is sure about balance! Too much entertaining the children, and the dishes don’t visit the dishwasher, overly cleaning the house, and the children don’t get the cuddle time on the couch with a book….this is where wisdom from the Lord comes in! :)