Breaking Out of Parallel

Just by the nature of things, the Monster still largely engages in parallel play.  This means, when the boys are playing on the floor, they’re generally either trying to play individually with the same toys, or playing off in their own corners.

Given that the Monster’s coming up fast on five, we’re trying to teach him to play with his little brother, just as I’m sure that his teachers are working on cooperative play at school.

Most of the time, I’m trying not to force the issue – if I can construct the situation that they’re close together and wanting to play with the same things, then great, but when they’re not in a mood to play with the same toys, there’s really little point to my forcing one or the other to switch what he’s doing.  The point is to get them to want to do it.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is the fact that the baby obviously has a far shorter attention span than the Monster.  The Monster’s more compliant, though, and with one of us sitting by, seems to be willing to do a little play with the baby until his patience wears thin.

On the other hand, when he’s in the mood, the Monster’s quite content to play with me – I spent about fifteen minutes on the floor today with him rolling a ball back and forth (until he rolled it wholly tangentially off, and then by the time I’d retrieved it, he’d moved onto another activity).  It’s progress from where he was, because I can remember when he really just wanted to do his own thing…

A positive thought when he is playing by himself, and it is progress – while I was watching curling yesterday, he got bored with sitting and staring at the stones.  He meandered around the family room for a bit, before he picked up a bandana, and threw it around his shoulders, holding the corners in front of his neck.  And then, out of no where, he just announced that it was “Superhero time!” and began running around the ottoman repeating that, the bandana flapping behind him like a cape…

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