I was there. I used to entertain my first child all the time. I am not exaggerating. It was ALL the time. It was driving me crazy and I saw that it wasn’t making my daughter any happier either. And then we discovered this approach and I started changing the system in our house. It was very hard for both of us. It was hard for her to get used to not being able to play with phones and my iPad anymore, or not to be entertained with TV whenever I needed a quiet moment to accomplish something without her. Now, with my son it came naturally. He doesn’t like most toys we still have, and never cared about TV until very recently (and they are only allowed to watch it for a short while in the morning while I am getting their breakfast ready). He is very happy to play with pots and wooden spoons, items of clothing, sticks and rocks, etc. My daughter learned too, but sometimes she still expects to be entertained. We are working on it.
Here is a wonderful article from Aunt Annie’s Childcare that also provides a real life example of observing kids play without toys. Follow the link for the whole thing or read my own selection from it below:
“Why are our houses full of plastic junk?
Why can’t we trust our children to find a way to play without a pile of plastic junk?
Aunt Annie’s hints to encourage toy-free, independent play:
1. Get outdoors with your kids.
If your kids are getting stroppy, take them outdoors and run around with them. You will ALL feel better. Go to the park, the beach, into the woods- anywhere outdoors where they have room to move and have their own space. You’ll probably find them inventing their own toy-free games in no time.
2. Spend time with them.
Be present when you play with your kids. Put the phone away. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Play toy-free games like hide and seek, chasings, What’s The Time, Mr Wolf? or building cushion forts.
6. Stop entertaining your children.
Right from birth, you can stop worrying about keeping your child entertained. JUST STOP IT. Even a baby has plenty to occupy its mind, learning how its hands and feet work. The correct answer to “I’m bored” is “Are you?”. Full stop. Don’t make suggestions!
11. Stop buying toys- especially brightly coloured, character-themed and gender-specific ones.
I have seen miracles happen when I took children away from all the plastic fantastic and let them loose outdoors instead, with few or no toys. End the clutter. Take a trip to the op shop or the tip. Stop consuming.”