Alright, can we agree that this title is a little clickbaity? I can admit it, it is, but my son rarely plays with toys. My child doesn’t play with toys and here’s why. It’s not like we don’t have toys for him; we have tons!! I am not a doctor of any sort so I cannot say from a medical point of view as to why he doesn’t. It could all be developmental for all I know. I genuinely think it is because he does not see us, his parents, play with them. This post is for parents with older infants and toddlers. If you’ve got a newborn, read this post on your must-haves for baby!
Let’s Be Real
Lately, my son has been obsessed with YouTube and watching Ms. Rachel (if you don’t know who she is by now you’re crazy…look her up!) and Canticos (bilingual songs to learn English and Spanish). While these are great educational channels and I’m super blessed to say he’s not obsessed with Cocomelon, I don’t want him to have too much screen time. The amount of allowed screen time is different for every parent and no one should be judged for their choice.
If we lived in a perfect world, I would limit screen time to only family movies nights but this is real life. Sometimes we watch videos in the car to survive the ride, sometimes when we are doing something important around the house, or when we just need to go #2 (no shame in this!). My son is currently 19 months and he doesn’t like to play with his toys unless we are playing with him. We do this often which is great! He really enjoys it; the problem is that he does not play independently.
Instead of playing with his toys, he likes to play with the everyday items that we, his parents, use. This includes my ceramic mugs, laptops, the mop and mop water, and even the sliding doors to our entertainment center. I noticed that he was interested in what we use and do most often.
Limit Your Own Screen Time
So what did I decide to do? I limited my own screen time around my son. Obviously, this is not 0% in my house but we cut the screens as much as we can before Dito goes to bed. By doing this, I have noticed that he asks for the phone or tablet a lot less. It is sort of like an “out of sight, out of mind” thing.
Let Them Make A Mess – It’s Okay!
Lately, my house has looked like 25 frat boys just stayed here. Most of it is me being too tired to clean our home just for it to get messy again. The other part is I allow Dito to play without too many limits. He knows what is safe and if he doesn’t know, I let him learn those boundaries for himself. I don’t constrict him to only playing in his room because it’s not his favorite place to play. At the end of the day, his toys are allowed to follow wherever he is most comfortable. 9 times out of 10, it’s within my proximity.
He Wasn’t Interested In What We Bought
I started getting nervous as to why he wouldn’t play with toys so I would buy different toys for him to play with every single time I went to the store. He would be intrigued by the toy while it was in the box and a little after playing with it but after that, he would never touch it again.
What we started doing was letting him pick things out in the store that interest him. We noticed that he chose things more related to dancing and sports. We found out that he loves to throw balls around, especially when playing with Wrigley (our dog). He has always loved dancing so we got an Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen Kids Edition so that we could quickly play music while he played. He also loves to read so when I would be reading, I would let him pick his own books out to read. Being able to have the choice made him more inclined to participate in playtime.
Show Interest In The Toys
I noticed that my son liked to stack things and knock them over so we bought him a bag of large blocks. I began by building towers and exclaiming with oos and ahs. This piqued his interest and he started interacting with the blocks. He usually does not build with them; he loves to dump them and put them back and dump them again. I love that! It is not about how he plays, as long as he is playing.
I know that I am not alone in this feeling and this post is to serve as a reminder that sometimes, kids go at their own flow with things. Sometimes, it’s us, the parents, who have to adjust before the kids can adjust. My advice is to stay consistent and have faith in your kids. Click here to shop some of my favorite toys from Amazon for my toddler!