My 2 1/2 year old constantly wants attention. When I tell him I am going to do a certain task, he whines and says, “ Play with me, 2 minutes!” repeatedly. Can we help him be more self sufficient?

—Wanting to get something done.

Dear Wanting to get something done,

Rest assured that you share this experience with lots of other parents. You can look forward to getting something done as soon as you take time for training. Be sure that your environment is set up as I suggested in past columns, especially in the cleaning department. Then when it is time to get some cleaning done, simply hand him his implement and get to it. Try starting the activity without saying anything at all. Or try “It’s time to sweep.”. Make sure he has similar equipment and supplies to yours so that he can work along side of you. Stock up on bill paying look alikes, gardening tools, whatever you do. If you come across an activity you have not prepared for say, “Oh my goodness where is yours? Let’s set it up!” So after the two of you have gotten good at whatever needs doing, start just going off to do your chores without announcing it. If he asks you to play with him, invite him to get his broom, mop, whatever and come and join you. Use the “As soon as...” response, “As soon as we get the sweeping and mopping done, we can do the activity you want!”