Do you entertain your kids?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by twinfinite, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. twinfinite

    twinfinite Well-Known Member

    Do you entertain your kids? Do you try and keep them occupied at all times? I used to. And now I feel so drained, this black cloud has come over me, and I feel like death and don't have any more initiative to come up with things to do.
    For instance, I used to regularly do little art projects with the kids, but they would lose interest in it in about 3 minutes, and it had taken me hours to find ideas, gather materials, and prep for it and then I would be left with the giant mess and nothing to show for it. This has happened many times, so I gave up.
    We have a basement playroom for the kids and it doesn't keep their attention anymore. (We tried rotating toys for a while, but I gave it up).
    I try to teach them some card games, but then it ends up in a big fight in less than 60 seconds. Someone ends up accusing the other of being a cheater!
    Same thing with board games! Even a simple game of Candyland ends up in complete chaos and angry expressions of rage!
    I try to get them to help around the house, by sweeping the floor, but then they end up bopping each other upside the head with brooms!
    And then, I want them to help me peel potatoes and I turn around for a moment and they trying to poke each other's eyes out with the peeler!
    I think, okay, maybe I can get them to help me fold the laundry, but then instead of helping, they end up squealing with laughter as they run around, both of them with a bra on top of their heads!
    The only time they are mildly okay is when they are chomping on food that they like. Which means of course, crap food! Otherwise they are whining and crying about the horrible food that the mean mommy is forcing them to eat!
    I thought things would be easier by now?!
    I am totally losing it folks!
    It seems like since starting half-day kindergarten they have SO MUCH MORE ENERGY! And they've learned a lot of nasty habits, like making weird noises at the tops of their lungs at all times, especially when I am making phone calls.
    The boys complain of boredom all the time. What to do? It is cold and snowy and I can't just send them outside, or should I just bundle them up and say "see ya later?! please whine and fight outside where I can't hear it?"
    This seems like a silly question, "do you entertain your kids?" a question that previous generations of parents would never find themselves asking, but it seems like we're all doing it now, aren't we? What is the missing piece of the puzzle?
    Thank you for your help.
  2. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Nope, I definitely do not entertain my kids. Often, I find myself wondering if I *should* be doing more - so the grass is always greener right? ;)

    Here's what I do believe - children need large chunks (1-2 hours) of free time, several times a day, for self-directed play (ie no adults involved) to learn important skills, everything from imagination to team work to problem solving to fine and gross motor skills. When my kids tell me they're bored I acknowledge ("That sucks. It's no fun to be bored."), remind them that it's not my problem ("It's not my job to entertain you."), and put the onus on them ("I wonder what you could do so that you aren't bored?"). 90% of the time, this does the trick. They also are allowed a lot of freedom within the house. They wanna run around naked? No problem! They want to scream and shout? No problem! But you need to stay downstairs so you aren't bothering anyone else in the house. They want to wear bras on their head? Go for it! :laughing: Basically as long as they aren't harming themselves, each other or our home, they can do it. Sometimes I set a boundary if needed for my own sanity as well. They also have free access to art and craft supplies so they can be creative whenever they'd like rather than me setting up a specific craft for them to do.

    I also know that changing any routine that they're used to is hard. Things usually get worse before they get better. So it helps to expect that, plan for it and keep your long term goals in mind. Good luck!
    4 people like this.
  3. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Not at all. I mean, we go out and do things (less now that they have school and it's cold) but most of the time they're on their own! Board games have got better after they turned 5 though, so we do those once in a while.
  4. southernmommy

    southernmommy Well-Known Member

    This is my philosophy too except when they say they are bored I'll tell them I have lots of chores they can do and they usually disappear within seconds.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Nope. I will direct them away from the super messy stuff if I see that occurring, but mostly I just force them to find stuff to do (this has never been an issue for either of them). I will help them if they ask, and I do expect them to clean up and they're generally good about this with some prodding. It takes a lot of practice though!
  6. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    I can't stand the "I'm bored" whine. Oh it just drives me bonkers. (Or more bonkers anyway...) And it's something we've been battling the past few weeks. It seems like the kids in our neighborhood have scattered since Thanksgiving and haven't been out to play. And that's really what my two love more than anything- being outside on their bikes and scooters. But heaven forbid they have to do it alone. UGH! I usually just direct them upstairs to their rooms with the direction to find something in their rooms to do. DD is really good about doing art stuff. She loves to draw and write, so that's typically what she'll do. DS is a little harder to entertain himself. More often than not, if she's coloring or doing art and he doesn't want to, he'll grab their tablet and go watch Netflix. 
    I'm no good at playing with or entertaining the kids. Especially after school. I am busy getting chores done that I didn't get done while they were gone, or getting dinner ready, etc. Occasionally, depending on what I'm cooking, I'll let them help a little with dinner. But like I mentioned in another thread- I don't like cooking with them. I do it occasionally because they love it, but it's not all the time. 
  7. twinfinite

    twinfinite Well-Known Member

    Thanks ladies for all of your great input! I am feeling better tonight.
    I tried Rachel's all-access trick to the craft supplies (thank you!!) and that seemed to work. How do you stop the kids from scribbling on the paper just a teeny bit, and then reaching immediately for another paper, only to scribble a teeny bit again, and then start the cycle over again though? I know they're 5, but the maturity level is lacking here! ;) I'm worried that the paper will last only a few days at this rate! 
    Thank you again!
  8. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    They'll figure it out when they don't get new paper and they have to draw on the old stuff ;) . We have a craft drawer too; it was like everything else we introduce to them. They used it and abused it the first few days and now they have sort of figured out that there is not an endless supply of stuff in there, and that it is really a pain for them to have to clean it up, especially if they get stuff on the walls or floor or whatever. Also get creative; give them old magazines, old clothing, ribbons, boxes, wrapping paper.. and just make it clear that they're only allowed to use stuff you put in the craft box.
    Other things that occupy a lot of time here are the costume bag; I picked up a whole bunch of sale costumes after Halloween. I also have some angry birds setup games that they like. I find with games, I show them the rules and then just let them have at it and play however they want. The only rule is that they have to put all the pieces away when they're done.
    Basically, I let them do what they want as long as they're not damaging things or hurting themselves, and they have to clean up afterwards.
  9. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Honestly, my kids really do not want me playing with them.  Very rarely they'll ask me to join in (and I like it that way).  They are pretty good at occupying themselves.  My son could play cars all day if given the opportunity to do so. 
    Much like Rachel and Jen say about their children, mine can do what they want-as long as they stay out of trouble and clean up afterwards. 
  10. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    I do not entertain my kids most of the time, and this has gotten much easier as they get older.  They have free access to a lot of their art supplies, so if they want to do crafting they do it. They really just like to free draw. They willingly and nicely  play board games with each other.  They read, play on the computer, or go in the backyard to play on their own (they have to ask me first).
    On the weekends they often do a cooking or baking project with me, we play board games as a family, or we go somewhere to do something fun (swimming, movie, jump place, etc.)
    They do have chores assigned, and I don't let them do anything "fun" until all the chores they can accomplish so far in the day have been done.  
  11. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I find that the more toys that are out, the less my girls actually play with them.  I put a ton of toys away and  now they play with what they have.  They are also allowed to draw and do art projects on their own.  I have a box of scrap paper they can use and they have learned not to waste it.  I really don't entertain my girls at all.  I rarely set up projects for them and they usually don't want to play with me, so when we are home together on the weekends, they get plenty of unstructured time to play.  The biggest threat in their world is being separated and not allowed to play together.  We use this when they start getting too wild.  Good luck!
  12. BRMommy

    BRMommy Well-Known Member

    You already got lots of great suggestions.  I just wanted to add that when my boys were your kids' age, I tried to give them outside play time as much as possible to burn off their energy.  My rule is that if temperatures are above freezing, they can bundle up and run around, even just for 10 or 15 minutes.  When it's below freezing for many days, I took them to the community center so they can run around in the gym.  That 10 minutes of running around makes a big difference in their ability to get along and play nicely indoors for the rest of the day.
    To answer your question, no I don't entertain them.  Sometimes, I'll play a game with them once to show them how it's played, and then let them play by themselves.  When we are outside, I just watch to make sure they are not getting hurt but otherwise let them play on their own.  
  13. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with the getting outside. Bundle and set loose. The kids love the snow. Even if we get out for 20 minutes they are much more relaxed when we get back inside. It's my goal to do at least one outdoor activity every weekend this winter, and the only time we stay inside is if it's colder than about -15C (well below freezing).
  14. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    I'll add to the outside play too. It doesn't get nearly as cold here as it does for a lot of ya'll. (It's only gotten to freezing or below 2 or 3 times and that was at night. During the day it's rare for it not be in at least the 40s.) But I'm often surprised by the number of parents in this region who don't allow outside play because it's too cold. I will make the kids put on hats, gloves, whatever they need, but then send them out for a least a little bit. They are allowed to come warm up, of course. 
    But my kids also dearly love outside time. Rainy days are almost like a prison sentence to them. (And, honestly, if it's warm outside and there's no thunder, I just let them go get a little wet.) 
  15. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with outside time year round! Bundle up and go run around out in the backyard!
  16. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Aw! That's cute. ;)

    It's funny how relative it is. Sometimes I feel justified complaining about our temps but then I consider people that live in Fort McMurray or the NWT and realize I'm just a big wimp. :laughing:
  17. jenn-

    jenn- Well-Known Member

    No entertaining here.  Everyone else has given you great advice.  As for making the paper last longer, can you cut it into quarters?
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