I've read a lot about how interactive play helps babies' development in many ways. For example, when they're playing with blocks, just describing things to them like "oh, you like the green block better, don't you?" "here, do you want the square block?"

But ever since my son started to be mobile, that's around 6 months, he seems to only like independant play. And there's lot of opportunity for it too, so he doesn't get bored. Like climbing, pulling himself up, cruising, pushing a car along when he crawls, etc. When I try to get involved in his play (I don't initiate my own game and expect him to join in. I always go with what he's got going), he either ignores me or goes away in sometime like he's had enough of me.

I know I should be counting my blessings, because this sometimes helps me get my work done or just sit and rest for a while. But I'm worried he's not interacting with people enough, and that it may affect his language skills etc. When he wasn't mobile yet, we used to speak to him a lot and he'd listen (well, look our faces) intently.

Should I just let him be or should I up my game to get him interested in interacting with me again? How would I go about that?

Edit: We have cuddle time, story time, and sometimes he wants to be held instead of playing. Except for the story time, I'm afraid other activities don't really involve talking about things and actions. Is this enough? Especially in the absence of any other social interaction during covid. (no day care, few family and friends)

  • I had a baby who was very happy to play on his own and his dad used to wonder the same thing. Now the same boy practically requires an itinerary to keep him from pestering everyone in the house to play with him, look at his drawings, check out the video he’s watching...don’t worry. Your child will not ignore you forever.
    – Jax
    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:55

2 Answers 2


From your edit, it sounds like you're getting plenty of chances for engagement with him. At 6 mo, he's still neck-deep in parallel play mode, and autonomous exploration has benefits too.

Cuddle time/holding is a good time to point out colors and describe things, so if he's not paying much attention during playtime, try it out then. You may find that as his language skills grow he'll be more attentive to you during playtime. He should have a ramp coming, followed by a language explosion around age 1.

In response to your concerns about not socializing enough, my oldest was constantly surrounded by family and friends and went to daycare/preschool for 2 years. My youngest had the opposite. They've reached most milestones at approximately the same time.

  • He's 9 months old now, though. Should the ramp have happened by now? How can I tell?
    – learner101
    Oct 13, 2020 at 15:32
  • There's a handy checklist here: nidcd.nih.gov/health/speech-and-language Just make sure he's coming along with the things in the 7mo to 1yr section. Around 1 yr when the explosion happens, his change in vocabulary and speech complexity will be easy to notice. Oct 13, 2020 at 16:00

First off, this was my [now] 4yo. He did not like to play with us and would actively avoid playing near us or would go do something else if we tried to play. We even considered having him evaluated to see if he was on the Autism spectrum (other things also led us to that conclusion as well).

I can't say we did anything specific but only that we continued with the exact things like you describe of trying to be involved with what he was doing, talking about his toys, etc.

My suggestion is try engaging in more learning activities like learning letters, colors, numbers, dinosaurs, etc. If he is like ours he is VERY smart and finds more interest in learning with you than playing with stuffed animals or imagination-based toys.

For ours it lasted until he really got a handle on talking and could actually have 1-2 sentence conversations. It was a turning point as we could engage with him at a level he could understand and interested him. It wasn't until around 3yo that he started playing make believe and more imagination-type playing. Now at 4 he is so far up our butts we can't breathe and CONSTANTLY wants us to play with him (even though "playing with him" usually means watching him play while he talks at us describing what he is doing). He also has a vivid imagination (demon power horse imaginary friends who give him speed, strength, etc. Terrifies me but I'm sure imaginary red 2 horned imaginary friend horses are normal).

It sucks, but really the best thing for it is to keep trying to engage and be patient until he develops enough to get what he needs out of group play.

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