We have a 9 yr old girl (only child for now) and she wont play games or with toys or do anything by herself, she is constantly asking me and her dad to play a game with her and when we don’t or cant she just sits and watches tv. She wont do anything by herself (unless you count sulking). I am 6 montha pregnant and once the baby comes we will have to spend less time playing with her because we will be busy with the baby aswell.
What can I do to encourage her to play by herself and entertain herself without the tv?


Posted by stepmom107932, 12th March 2017


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  • My 9 year old will entertain herself however she hates having to dress herself, or even turn the water on for the shower. Maybe it’s just a stage they go through?



  • Maybe you could let her invite some friends over and let the child play with them? Or do sports that encourages independence orienteering is excellent for this (and many events can be done with a pusher to bring new bub along in a few months so you could join in too, although have the choice of being alone or going round with her). If she makes friends through a sport she may also be able to go out with other families if you need to focus on new bub and/or look after yourself. She is growing up, so spreading her wings is normal!



  • I have a 6 yr old and a 13 yr old. My eldest was similar when she was younger- found it hard to entertain herself and always wanted attention, someone to play with her etc. My youngest is the opposite. I would suggest not allowing her to have any tv time so she has to start using her imagination. Limiting tv time pushes kids to have to think about doing something else instead of sitting in front of the tv. Maybe when you are cooking in the kitchen, ask her to help you – so she feels somewhat including in what your doing. I always have my 6 yr old help ( well she offers)- but she helps with dinner, putting the dishes away, sorting out the laundry. Even if you have her doing some painting or colouring in while your outside – at least she will feel close to you whilst you can still get things done. Dont give in to the sulking – or she will continue to do it . Good luck and all the best



  • Sometimes you have to work on developing a hobby, like reading, drawing, painting making things. I often buy little craft packets (sewing kits, modelling clay / foam, woodwork) which I give to my kids as a reward or give when they are bored.
    You could also plan a playdate or put her in an afternoon club/sport



  • Depending on what you’re doing when she is asking you to play – have a list of jobs and give her the option of helping and then you’ll give her 15 min of play (set a timer) or you’ll play in X amount of time (like 30 min/1 h and again set a timer so you can keep your word). She may enjoy spending time with you even if it’s jobs. And then the reward of some playtime.
    Also if she watches TV, say no tv for an hour but give her a choice of a few ideas like a puzzle or craft or dancing to music.
    I’m sure others will have some helpful suggestions!


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