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  1. #21
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    Default Why can't my kids play on their own?

    @loislane2010 I agree however we have scheduled things during the week (sports) for the obvious physical activity but also to reduce computers - it's a fine balance to not over schedule but then not have them glued to electronics and for me that's my biggest issue. We don't do much in weekends in general. If i gave them full access to computer or iPad I wouldn't hear from them all day but I can't do that obviously so when they have to play that's when the whole I have nothing to do kicks in. I'm not crafty so it's like torture for me to do that with them and due to some health issues I'm restricted in my ability to play physical games so it's a vicious cycle.

    Will take on board any suggestions though if more have some.

  2. #22
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    @LoisLane that all makes sense but for us specifically they don't have any set extra curricular activities. When we go out it's generally to the shops, a cafe, a friend or family's place. Sometimes we go out 2 or 3 times some days we stay in all day.

    Yes DD goes to childcare but the get a lot of free play.

    I think some kids are just better at playing by themselves than others.

    R&A&H I like the idea of set time within any given hour or half hour for me to do housework or just sit in peace. I'll keep that up my sleeve for when DS is a bit older and can understand that. He's far harder to pry away from my calves than DD is. Haha

  3. #23
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    My kids are 10, nearly 7, nearly 5 and 2. I manage school holidays like a military operation.

    each week I try and organise 2 play dates (minimum) out of the house for the older 2. That gives them time with friends and also a break from each other

    My older 3 love tennis so they do a kit 1 to 2 morning tennis sessions each week as well. And swimming lessons. So they gets them out of the house and keeps them physically active.

    So long as they are out each day for half of the day I don't stress about screen time as much. They all get a few hours in the afternoon to have down time (my middle 2 don't usually use this).

    Every evening in summer my older 2 and I take the dogs to the beach. We head out at 7-ish and come home around 8. Then straight to bed.

    If we are stuck home then they play Lego or on the trampoline. Or I set up the slip n slide and they all put on mermaid tails and play pretend games.

    My kids have all of December and January off so I have to keep them busy or the time can drag for them and me. I often get a little bit I involved in their games and then will quietly withdraw once they are engaged and playing together.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    My kids are 10, nearly 7, nearly 5 and 2. I manage school holidays like a military operation.

    each week I try and organise 2 play dates (minimum) out of the house for the older 2. That gives them time with friends and also a break from each other

    My older 3 love tennis so they do a kit 1 to 2 morning tennis sessions each week as well. And swimming lessons. So they gets them out of the house and keeps them physically active.

    So long as they are out each day for half of the day I don't stress about screen time as much. They all get a few hours in the afternoon to have down time (my middle 2 don't usually use this).

    Every evening in summer my older 2 and I take the dogs to the beach. We head out at 7-ish and come home around 8. Then straight to bed.

    If we are stuck home then they play Lego or on the trampoline. Or I set up the slip n slide and they all put on mermaid tails and play pretend games.

    My kids have all of December and January off so I have to keep them busy or the time can drag for them and me. I often get a little bit I involved in their games and then will quietly withdraw once they are engaged and playing together.
    Do your younger 2 play by themselves more than your older 2?

    I'd imagine the more kids you have the more likely they are to play by themselves??

    Not that having another child would solve any problems for us, it would cause more problems haha. It could just be the symptom of having just 1 or 2 children perhaps.

  6. #25
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    I think this is a common problem these days but I don't think it's necessarily linked to over scheduling. I'm a SAHM, DD doesn't go to daycare and we do no scheduled activities, she's never even been to mothers group/ play group etc. The types of 'activities' we do are going to the park, having play dates with friends/ cousins, she comes with me to run errands, nothing scheduled at all.

    However I have the exact same problem. My SIL whose sons have been raised the same has the same problem as well. Kids these days just seem incapable of playing by themselves.

    In taking to older relatives I think the problem is not so much with the kids but with the parents. We're so hard on ourselves these days. We think that we should be interacting with out kids as much as possible and we're so wracked with guilt that we're always doing the 'wrong' thing. My parents always remind me that when we were young there was no expectation for them to play with us. Adults had other responsibilities and we had the luxury of playing all day and not having responsibilities. There was no discussion entered into. Sure they played the occasional game with us or took us to the beach or on picnics but daily 'playing' with my parents didn't exist. If we nagged that we were bored they'd quickly find some chore for us and we learnt quick smart that if we wanted to avoid chores we should avoid nagging about being bored and just get out and have fun.

    That being said getting out and having fun was so much easier because you could always go over to your neighbours place or out on the street and find kids to play with.

    I don't mean to idealize the past, I know it wasn't all roses but I think there have been vast societal changes that mean that kids have sort of lost the ability to keep themselves entertained and I don't know that there's any easy solution to remedy that.

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  8. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Squared View Post
    Do your younger 2 play by themselves more than your older 2?

    I'd imagine the more kids you have the more likely they are to play by themselves??

    Not that having another child would solve any problems for us, it would cause more problems haha. It could just be the symptom of having just 1 or 2 children perhaps.
    It's a blessing and the curse. The more you have the more they fight too. That drives me crazy more them being bored.

    My middle 2 play together most but the older 2 play things like Lego together. But it's easier to send the older 2 to school holiday activities with friends.

    I just keep very busy and make sure they do too. We rarely have home days. We all have to get out every day.

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  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by loislane2010 View Post
    I find this is a very common problem these days. My thoughts on it are this...

    Kids these days are so over scheduled that they have not learnt how to entertain themselves. Jus think about it. Kids go to school/daycare every day where they are told what to do, then 4 out of 7 days they have activities after school or have after school care and on weekends they play sports. Then they finally have a day of nothing and they don't know what to do.

    I know this isn't true of everyone but tis a valid point IMO. Not saying this is what happens in your house either just sharing my opinion.

    I know this isn't a solution but my kids don't do a lot of activities during the week or on weekends. Nor do we go out every weekend. They are told to find something to do for a certain amount of time before they are allowed to go out for activities or watch tv/computer.

    Its hard for toddlers but maybe this is a thought about what u can do to stop it in the future.
    I definitely agree with this. Even outings and play dates count in this I think. Kids aren't given the opportunity to get bored and learn how to make their own fun.
    I try to actually schedule in free play time, where there's no screens or parents or friends to entertain them. Usually on the weekend mornings and a couple of afternoons a week they have a good 2-3 hour block where they are just expected to play on their own.
    you have to be pretty consistent about it. I also do the 'play for 10 minutes then leave them to it' trick. But after that they're on their own. Make it a household rule. Be consistent. If they come to you and all they get is 'go and play, I will play with you at 11' they will eventually give up.
    And don't feel guilty!! If they are getting quality time with you at other times throughout the day, it's just as important to teach them to entertain themselves.

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    I think it's very hard to compare how it was when we were kids to now. If I got bored I got on my bike and roamed. I rode for hours and no one would have known where I was. Kids aren't given that freedom these days so naturally we have to find other ways to entertain them. My 10 year old is allowed to ride around the suburb and to the beach alone (but not swim) but other parents look at me like I'm a freak for letting her. She has a phone and we keep in contact.

    My mother always says we use what we have available and if screens had existed when I was a kid I probably would have been glued to one as well!

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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by FearlessLeader View Post
    I definitely agree with this. Even outings and play dates count in this I think. Kids aren't given the opportunity to get bored and learn how to make their own fun.
    I try to actually schedule in free play time, where there's no screens or parents or friends to entertain them. Usually on the weekend mornings and a couple of afternoons a week they have a good 2-3 hour block where they are just expected to play on their own.
    you have to be pretty consistent about it. I also do the 'play for 10 minutes then leave them to it' trick. But after that they're on their own. Make it a household rule. Be consistent. If they come to you and all they get is 'go and play, I will play with you at 11' they will eventually give up.
    And don't feel guilty!! If they are getting quality time with you at other times throughout the day, it's just as important to teach them to entertain themselves.
    I wish I could do all this without the guilt but I feel like I'm abandoning them. I know how ridiculous that sounds and couldn't be further from the truth, but I guess it's like anything parenting, guilt seems to have become our default emotion about everything we do from feeding to sleeping to child care to spending time with the kids, it seems there's always something to be felt guilty about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    I think it's very hard to compare how it was when we were kids to now. If I got bored I got on my bike and roamed. I rode for hours and no one would have known where I was. Kids aren't given that freedom these days so naturally we have to find other ways to entertain them
    Absolutely, I didn't mean to imply we should do what people did back then, just that it was so different back then and, for me anyway, I'm always thinking to myself gosh why can't she just play by herself like I did. Then I have to remind myself it's a very different time. I do try to implement some of the things FearlessLeader suggested though. DD is only 3 but she also gets told that it's free play time and if she asks/ whinges I say go and play I'll play with you in 20 mins or whatever. It doesn't always work but it's getting easier and I can at least (sometimes) have a cup of coffee in peace.


 

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