mgabi's picture

my adoptive child won't enjoy playing

How to develope imaginative play? creativity?


Maia (5 years old)´came home to us 7 months ago, and since then we were still not able to find any game that she would enjoy. She doesn't like coloring, plastiline, she doesn't play with her toys. she would rather lie in her bed and do nothing, mumbling by herself. She goes to the nursery, so she already has started to learn about crafts and playing, and I try to spend time with her doing crafts and coloring, improvising theater plays with our animal friends, etc. Still she doesn't seem to find any joy in doing it. all she wants is for us to praise her. She would draw a single line and run to us asking for confirmation. But she, herself, doesn't seem to find any joy in what she is doing. We also have a neighbouring little girl, Maia's age, coming to us and playing with Maia, basically teaching her how to play. She still doesn't seem to learn to play by herself. We don't know what to invent any more .... spending time with her is fun, but as soon as we leave her alone she would stop doing anything at all, stop playing, just lingering on the floor and stairing at the ceiling.

Any ideas? Please help. G.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Maia probably needs time to adjust to her new situation. Although 7 mos may seem like enough time, try to put yourself in her shoes. She has to get used to new parents and a whole new setting. That can't be easy for anyone. Why not try asking Maia what she wants to do, and give her the opportunity to choose. Some kids like certain things that others do not. I have 2 boys, and you'd think they'd like sports. Mainly, though, they'd be content digging in the yard and collecting bugs. Expose Maia to different things, and let her find her nitch. I'm sure she'll find something she enjoys doing. Good luck!

Eatonmem's picture

You seem to equate play with imaginative creative play. Maia may not have much of an imagination yet. She seems to be very content to have you tell her what to do. I wonder if she came from a very structured and organized shedule before she came in to your home. Play need not always be drawing, creating clay objects, make believe, etc. Sometimes play is in measuring with cups and rice or water or cotton balls. Sometimes play is simply lying in the grass listening and watching. Open your mind to what play is for your child and let her take the lead but don't abandon your efforts to pull her into creative experiences. I would suggest taking some of the heat off for awhile and letting her just become herself in your home. You don't need to entertain her. I have five children and all of them play in different ways. I have one very quiet child who has an inner life that is amazingly imaginative but I wouldn't have known unless I had just happened to stop pushing and decided to listen quietly while he played in his invented world. To my eyes it looked like he was loafing about-but he was very busy indeed with play. He has since grown out of it a good deal but still enjoys his alone time.

Christianmomto3's picture

Our son, who is 3, is adopted internationally and has also struggled with the same thing. For the first year he was with us, he would not play on his own or with his sister, and would cry if we tried to get him to play. Things have gotten better over the past year (he has been with us for 2 years, 1 month). He will now willingly, and on his own, go into his room and play with his toys. He has also started playing with other children really well. Prior to coming home with us, he played well with his foster mom, so this was really an issue of time, comfort and just needing to adjust. Best of luck to you both...give her time, it will get better!

debw6051's picture

Hi, we adopted 4 children almost 4 years ago after having them as fosters for 3 years. Our oldest, now 14 has never "played". Not sports, not games, not toys. We've provided him every opportunity to try many different things in sports, music, toys but it just wasn't him. As he was not given the chance to just be a kid in his early years he simply had no interest. He likes drawing and is very, very good at that.
All 4 of these siblings are different. His oldest sister is much like him but has an interest in sports. Of our 2 youngest, they both love toys but the girl also likes sports while the boy has zero interest in them.
My advice would be to just provide her with opportunities and let HER decide what she is interested in. Eventually she'll find something. I would suggest to highly limit her tv, video time, however. Good luck.