One happy byproduct of our vacation has been that the boys are playing together much more without my help. What are the means by which this has occurred? I ignore them. Now, I have been laboring for 6 years under the belief that ignoring my children is a bad thing. Consequently, I have entertained them with endless creative crafts and work around our home and projects in the gardens and outings together and reading… but in so doing, I have not allowed them to learn how to play.
J (6) received a lot of little tiny legos– choking size, really– so he has been relegated to his room to play with them alone. And he has learned to build all sorts of creative lego creatures (the latest is a modified version of the monster from The Incredibles.)
O (3) has begun building all sorts of vehicles with his duplo legos and creates whole stories with them. M (almost 2) and I have been cooking, cleaning, and while she naps, I have been reading my Bible or getting ready for our trip. The boys have been playing together– no TV or computer, just playing– indoors and out, and even have begun giggling together after bedtime (they share a room.)
In medicine, we call this Benign Neglect. I'm not really ignoring them– I have my ears peeled for fighting or problems– but it is my lack of entertaining them that has caused them to entertain themselves. And I am very grateful.