Only child wants constant attention

I have a 3 year old daughter. She is normally very good and is a loving child. She has her ups and downs and tantrums but not over the top. All normal.


I am riddled with guilt because she is our only child at the moment and she constantly needs me to play with her. If I dont she will follow me around, wanting me to play and do things with her.
I am a stay at home mom and she goes to school until mid-day. She is a very social child.
I battle playing with her constantly. I can't do hours of playing pretend games and dollies and puzzles etc. I will sit and do a puzzle with her or draw for about half an hour, then I have to go do other things for a while before we do something else together. (sometimes I feel like reading the business report news paper just to get my brain on an intellectual level and thinking again)

I feel so guilty cause it ends up that I get impatient and I tell her to play by herself. I know she does not have a sibling to play with which might have helped but am I wrong in feeling this and how can I get her to play by herself for longer.
Her constant need for me to sit and play and talk with her gets me frustrated.
Please help.

Dr Maud Answers

It is normal for your daughter to want you to play with her all the time because that's fun for her. It is important that you do devote some time for her just to play (and so help her develop) which should be quality time, but you also have to do what you need to.

You shouldn't feel guilty that your daughter doesn't have a sibling - if that's the way it is, then that is the way it is. It is perhaps because you feel guilty, though, that you feel you must spend all your time with your daughter. As you are finding, this will only cause frustration and reduce the quality of the time.

Make time for your daughter and let her know that this is her play time with mummy. Then make it clear that mummy has work time (or just mummy time if you want to read) and that she has her playtime (that does not include mummy).

It is better to have fun play times with your daughter that are long enough but not so long that you get frustrated. And don't feel guilty about it. Persevere with this strategy and in a short time your daughter will have adapted and be able to play alone.

Good luck

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