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10 yr old boys: what do yours do with free time?


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Help. I have four sons; the youngest is 10 and the next one up is five years older. One is away at college; my second son is completing grade 12 at school this year; and he and the other teen son at home occupy themselves with music, ball hockey, etc. The 10 yr old, however, does not seem to know what to do with himself when he has free time--and compared to his older brothers, he has quite a lot. We live on a quiet, rather secluded court street, and his only friends are a few neighbour children who are at school all day and often not available when out of school/ on weekends (extracurricular activities, other school friends, etc). Although my son is a friendly, good-natured kid, far from socially inept--not whiny or bossy, etc--he hasn't been able to make the many connections his older brothers did through the homeschooling community--somehow it seems as though fewer families with boys his age are around now. Same thing at church--the few boys his age have known each other forever, and he can't seem to break into the group.

 

This son is not terribly sportsminded or arts-and-craftsy, though he does attend karate twice a week and a homeschool choir once a week; I also run a morning co-op for a handful of kids his age once a week. Lego (of which we have enough to build an addition onto our house) lost its appeal some time ago. In terms of reading, he has become somewhat obsessed with the Warriors series about clans of cats (we have several cats, and he is very attached to them; hence the appeal of these books). He does like to spend time on the computer writing his own cat stories, and recently he has begun frequenting the Warriors online forum where he chats with other kids about the books, etc (from what I can gather, the site is monitored; I had to send a letter requesting permission that my son have access to the site, etc, so it seems quite safe). He goes to no other websites. Nonetheless, it seems to me that he is spending far too much of his spare time on this forum and failing to come up with any other activities to occupy himself. Maybe I'm failing too in this regard--I'm very busy with hs'ing, preparing for co-op classes (including a high school class), and as a single parent (widowed), pretty much have to "do it all"--with the result that I have little or no inclination to play games or come up with other ideas for activities.

 

So--what do *your* 10 yr old boys do with their time? Especially when there really aren't other kids around on a regular basis to engage with? My older boys have little interest in "playing" with their younger brother anymore,and we have no extended family to draw upon. I know my son feels quite lonely at times but I don't know what to do about this or how to get him to come up with his own ideas to fill his time. Any thoughts to share? Thanks.

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Not ideal, but my 10yo also spends more time than I would like on the computer on Roblox, which is a Lego-type site. He can also have structured social interactions there. I bet online games are a common outlet for boys like ours. There are no other kids on our street and his sisters annoy him no end, so informal play dates don't happen.

 

I think what I am going to do for my son is to help him make a list of possible activities, and then post it. After so much time on the computer he will be required to choose from the list. With a little diligence on my part, I can probably come up with a ton of stuff he's never considered. Has your son seen The Dangerous Book For Boys? There are quite a few activities boys can do on their own there.

 

As far as social connections, just keep your eyes open for opportunities and hang on. I think many of us go through "dry spells" in homeschooling like that.

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Boy Scouts is good for that age, and another way to meet friends.

 

My 11 year old has older bro's who do play with him, but all of them like Playmobiles (seems young to me, but they still like them) and Lord of the Rings action figures. They go outside and play make believe games in the woods. They are various soldiers, etc. It's cute. Building forts is good, too. I second Dangerous Book for Boys. My guys like that quite a bit. Even if not sporty, a basketball hoop is good for guys. My 11 year old like Runescape--another online game, but he sometimes plays with friends who are also online playing, so it's a little bit social.

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:bigear:

 

I am having this exact same problem, too, but with both my kids. They are allowed 30 min of computer time, 30 min WII time (only the games that get them to move) and 30-60 min tv time (depending on what they choose to watch and how long the show is). Aside from those things, ds especially has no idea what to do with himself! He could read a book, he could play with legos, he could go outside to play with the dog, but for some reason, these things seem to lose thier appeal when there are literally several hours in a day of free time. :confused:

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Well, mine spends most of his time with legos, computer games (he has a 2 hour/week limit), reading (he likes the Warrior series too but also many others), and playing by himself in the yard. (He also plays with his younger sister).

 

I don't know if he does chores but my ds spends a fair amount of his time helping me rake the yard, do minor household repairs (he likes those!), dealing with laundry etc.

 

I also will encourage him (ie. require him) to run/walk or bike around the block a couple of times for exercise. Legos, computer games and reading are all sedentary and since he is not naturally a jock (like his sister who never stops moving) I need to require some exercise in his life.

 

I know it is their free time but I am also a mean mom who steps in to direct some of it. We have a 3-D puzzle going on right now on the coffee table of the Empire State Building. If the kids are bored I have no trouble getting out the timer and asking them to do 1/2 hour on the puzzle. The last time I did it they turned off the timer and kept working on the puzzle because it was fun.

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Stacey,

 

Regarding your son's interest in the Warriors website - my 10yod is doing the exact.same.thing. As a matter of fact, I told her it was time to limit her Warriors board time because I was concerned she was getting too much of her social interaction through the board. I wanted her to go outside and play with the neighbor kids. She also writes her own cat stories, which resemble Warriors characters alot, and then posts them on the board. This all seems to take up most of her free time. I don't have any advice for you, but when I read your post about the Warriors site I just wanted to say you're not alone! :grouphug:

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He does like to spend time on the computer writing his own cat stories, and recently he has begun frequenting the Warriors online forum where he chats with other kids about the books, etc (from what I can gather, the site is monitored; I had to send a letter requesting permission that my son have access to the site, etc, so it seems quite safe).

 

Not to hijack your thread, but this is interesting because dd likes that forum, too. She had an acct before when all the posts went through the moderator before appearing, but I haven't allowed her to have one since it went to real time. I guess the trolls on just this board freak me out, so I can't imagine the ones that might target a kid's forum and appear before a mod can clean it up. But, since she reads it all the time anyway, she's giving me grief about not letting her post (which actually makes sense :glare:).

 

I think, for the most part, the fact that your ds likes to write, and is sharing his stories with confidence, that's probably a pretty good thing.

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My 10 yr old is a girl. My kids are similar ages to your, one being a college student away, even.

 

it may be different for little girls, but in case its helpful: Mine plays with Playmobil, reads, plays outside alone (and with friends)- she has a little area she set up as a fort under the play structure- makes maps, knits, takes care of her Neopets, plays with the chickens, listens to audio books, bakes, does all sorts of arts and crafts, and is espcieally fond of modeling clay. This morning she spent about two hours playing with a bag of celestial marbles she bought at the Air & Space museum in Dc the other day. Currently she is riding her bike along side her in-training track sister while she runs 2 miles.

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My son is 11, but he runs into some of the same problems. His next brother is also 5 years older and busy with his own activities. We live on 5 acres in a rural area, so there aren't really any other kids to place with besides his siblings. My two dds are gone to gym and dance every day, so sometimes he finds himself with too much free time.

 

He likes to play computer and Wii, but we limit his time on these as well. He also likes to read and spends some free time reading. He has just started classical guitar lessons, so some of his time he spends practicing.

 

My dh recently built a fort for him on a part of our property that seems secluded when you are there, but is actually within yelling distance of the house. It started as something small but turned into a two-story fort with a zip line. He has spent a lot of time lately out there. He is building a "fence" around his fort area.

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Stacey,

 

Regarding your son's interest in the Warriors website - my 10yod is doing the exact.same.thing. As a matter of fact, I told her it was time to limit her Warriors board time because I was concerned she was getting too much of her social interaction through the board. I wanted her to go outside and play with the neighbor kids. She also writes her own cat stories, which resemble Warriors characters alot, and then posts them on the board. This all seems to take up most of her free time. I don't have any advice for you, but when I read your post about the Warriors site I just wanted to say you're not alone! :grouphug:

 

Thanks...Good to know I'm not alone!

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