View Full Version : help with a 4 year old not playing

06-11-2009, 10:06 PM
I have a little mindee girl who will be 4 next month. She attends nursery for 2 1/2 hours a day so does not arrive with me until 12 midday.

On Monday past after being off since the Wednesday for hallowe'en she came in from nursery and played quite happily for the rest of the day. When I say play she went into the toy room and chose a toy then played with it for quite some time eg dressing a doll, putting it into a cot, feeding it, etc etc.

She has repeated this whole process for the rest of the week except for today. Today she regressed into the behaviour she showed before she went off for the break. What I mean is this ...

Instead of playing with any specific toy she went in tossed a number of toys around on the floor, walked into the living room and sat down on the couch just staring at me for a long period of time. I was at this time picking out some pictures from a magazine to use in arts and crafts time. She did go over and look at the pictures but then quickly went back into the playroom and tempted her little brother to play "catch" - running from one end of the house to the other encouraging him to run after her. I do not allow running as I am always afraid of accidents and I continually repeat this to the children. I asked them to stop which she just laughed at. I then went and lifted both children and sat them on separate couches. I then looked at them and repeated my rule on no running and asked them both if they understood to which they said they did. I then asked them to go in and choose a toy and play with it. She repeated the process of lifting out a toy or two throwing it around the room and coming back into the living room to follow me around like a shadow.

I am at my wits end with this behaviour. Why? I have seen her able to play on her own and quite happily so what is the meaning of her behaviour today? I do not feel that I should be showing her how to play or what to play with - she knows through nursery running what is expected of her. Is she just looking for my attention? How should I handle this? What should I say/do with her to encourage her to play? What I am really worried about is the fact that this behaviour is rubbing off on her brother - I cannot honestly say what he played with today while she was present.

I am thinking this is due a need for sleep but I could be wrong. When my daughter came in from school there was only half an hour and I (rightly or wrongly) went and put all the toys away while they all sat down to watch tv - reason I did put all the toys away myself was for peace to be on my own and be assured that everything was away in the correct place for the weekend. It was obvious when she was sitting watching tv by all her yawning that she was very tired - mum has stopped telling me about her sleeping pattern at nights now as it appears that she continually has a broken nights sleep every night - either she wakes up 2 hours after going to bed or is up at 6 am.

I am at my wits end with this whole situation and really need assurance that I am doing and thinking correctly (am I??). The situation is something I want to get a hold of because I feel I am failing as a childminder by this one child alone. Please help!

Pudding Girl
06-11-2009, 10:30 PM
Hiya Terrydoo, long time no see, hope you are well? still doing the SW? :)

I can't quite see much of a problem if I am perfectly honest?

Maybe she is bored of the toys you have out? Do you rotate toys? Do you play with her, games/do crafts? Maybe she is coming down with something and not quite feeling herself and acting a little out of character? Myabe as you say she is a little more tired than normal this week.

06-11-2009, 10:39 PM
Sounds like she needed to go out for a change, its been raining on and off here, perhaps she hadn't been out much. Could she go into the garden. She also may be a bit bored of playing on her own, try having some music on instead of the tv.

07-11-2009, 10:22 AM
I look after a nearly 4yrold girl and she follows me from room to room not really playing with anything, but when i put the radio on in the living room she then plays happily with the toys and if i nip to the kitchen for somthing she dosent follow me, she seems much happier with background noise, I refuse to put the tv on for her as she wont sit and watch it but plays with the toys just glancing at it occasionaly and i cant see the point of the tv being on if noones watching it.
after a while of playing with her I will then also say to her , right i have to do the washing up now (or whatever it is that nneds doing) then i say 'after the washing up i will come and play with you again', this also means she will play happily on her own as she knows i will eventualy be back to play with her.
I have to admit though it does drive me up the wall that within half an hour of being home from school i have another child that will also follow me around the house and wont play with anything unless i am in the same room.,,,, maybe its just me!!:laughing:

07-11-2009, 10:23 AM
oh forgot to add I always make sure we go out for a walk somwhere during the day just to get some fresh air as this helps wake everyone up, it may be a walk to the park or just to drag the dog round the blok as long as its somthing.
I also find that if a child is grumpy or in a bad mood that once we've been for a walk they have a complete change of mood . fresh air is magic stuff at times:D

07-11-2009, 08:07 PM
Thank you for all your comments. Yes Pudding Girl I am still doing SW!

The children do get a walk every day - up to the end of my lane and down again to get my daughter from the bus - it is a good 1/2 mile up to the end and all uphill!

Also I have CD's on throughout the day - I love Jo Jingles and any nursery rhyme type CD and they do join in with the singing and dancing.

I do arts and crafts every day with them - when I have my twins on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we do it together during their sleeping time in the afternoon but on Mondays and Fridays they go and help themselves to what is laid out on my kitchen table - the little girl usually does this first thing when she comes in from nursery before lunch.

I still believe it is attention seeking behaviour but it is hard to know how to handle it!

07-11-2009, 08:42 PM
She sounds tired to me. Do you have a talking book she could listen to? Perhaps treat her a bit older and give her "jobs" to do such as sorting the craft bits or finding the missing jigsaw piece(don't forget to hide one!)