18: share his space.
“Sometimes, a child’s need for connection may feel intrusive to parents who want to have some time for themselves. However, a parent may first need to give time to a young child before she is able to find time for her own needs.” – Parenting form the Inside Out
Sometimes it isn’t easy to sit sown and actually play with him or include him in my work. I’m tired or, honestly, just in the middle of a good book and want some reading time. I could (and have) just sit on the couch and let him (theoretically) play, but I’ve found he gets bored quickly and tends to beg for me to read him stories. And that just frustrates us both!
An easy way for me to grab 20 minutes of reading time is to put myself in the middle of a fun place ( his room or outside), put away the screens, and just be there with him while I read. I’m always surprised at how well he plays in his room if I’m just sitting in there with him while he plays. He’ll find some toys, bring them to me every now and then for inspection or interaction and then he’ll play on his own for a while longer.
Another strategy is to fold the laundry on our big bed. He’ll easily turn it into a jungle gym to climb around and we chat while I fold. Other times I’ll sit in the hallway between two areas and he races back and forth playing around. Sometimes I’ll just sit on the floor.
Just making myself a little more available for interaction (even if I’m still reading or doing something else) fuels his ability to play alone and feeds connection.
He plays better when I share his space and open myself up to interruptions. I try not to put him on hold and instead try to keep the line free for when he needs it. I avoid saying “Just a minute” for that chosen period of time.