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Do your kids know how to entertain themselves


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Especially when they have no access to the computer, television or video games? I am alarmed that mine do not know what to do.

 

Ds is grounded from technology until Tues. No computer, no tv, no Wii, because he has consistantly disrespected time limits (30 min each day for each thing). That child has been constantly following me around asking me what he can do. Play a game, draw a picture, get out a book and do science experiments, write a story, read a book, clean your room...I have tons of suggestions but he simply says he doesn't want to. Play with your dog, rake the leaves, clean out the car, go through your games in the basement and see what we can donate...Nope. So, for the last three days, he has been following me around, not doing anything! Now today its: Can we go shopping? Can we go bowling? Can we go to the archery range? Can we go out for lunch? Can we...Can we...Can we...? And dd, who is only grounded from the computer presently, isn't much better. And they don't want to play with each other!

 

GAH!:svengo:

 

Its not that I don't want to do anything with him - its that I have 500,000 things I have to do today. No one wants to vacuum and dust my room (which is grossing me out, actually), no one wants to clean out the fridge (which is also grossing me out), no one wants to do the things that *have* to be done, except, you know, me. And, oddly, I'm okay with that part today.

 

Shouldn't they be able to entertain themselves independently by now? Do your kids follow you around all day looking for something to do with themselves, only to find out at the end of the day that that's all they really did and just wasted an entire day??

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This is the one area for which I am most pleased with my children. We don't have tv or video games and they get no computer time. They are most resourceful and can find something to do with absolutely nothing. However they are younger than yours.

 

I never played with them so they never looked to me to entertain them. I also do not look for missing lego/bionicle/playmobile pieces. If they mean that much to you, then arrange them carefully so you won't lose them. My older son loves to draw and read and is thus happy with large blocks of time without obligations.

 

The kids also know that when I pull the mop and vacuum out and put my ipod on my head that they'd better skidaddle or I'm going to find them something to do.

 

Whining and "carrying on" are absolutely not tolerated as well and I usually send them off to their beds with a book for a period of time for doing it.

 

What can I say? I'm a mean mommy.

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I've always allowed the kids to be bored-- they have to figure out what to do sometimes. Now and then if they say they're bored, I may offer some suggestions, but ultimately want them to know it's okay to be bored. Boredom is a part of life, IMO.. stuck in traffic, waiting in line or in an office for an appointment, etc etc...so they are best equipped to deal with it! DS takes a book with him EVERYWHERE. He often trails behind me in the grocery store with his nose in a book. DD usually plays imaginative games with a little toy of some kind. Sometimes they play together a game of "eye-spy" or something like that. We DO allow limited use of TV, computer, and video games... for us that hasn't effected their ability to find things to do or use their imaginations.

Edited by Firefly
typo
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My kids also do a good job of entertaining themselves most days. Granted, we have limited tv watching, no computer time (beyond what is required for school for my oldest), and don't own video games so that's not an option. When they do get bored and come asking for something to do, I usually offer them a range of choices similar to your list. They then have the option to pick something from the list or come up with their own idea. If they don't make a choice, then I choose for them. (Since my choice usually involves housework, they don't let me choose very often.) HTH

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Yes, my kids know how to entertain themselves to the point that it's nearly impossible sometimes to get them to stop and come do school, chores, etc. Even my youngest, at 27 months, can entertain himself pretty well. He's been playing trains all morning. He will come to me and want to show me his trains or listen to his song, but he's been off playing by himself for several hours now.

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:svengo:Absolutely, because cleaning is my sure fire cure for boredom. My kids will not even udder the word bored for fear of an assignment:tongue_smilie:. I actually made a list a few years ago they could refer to for ideas.

 

 

I'm not a drop everything and run kind of mom. Everyone knows (because I remind them all the time) to discuss errands or outings with me and we place them on the calendar. Saturday is my favorite day or if you get all your lesson work done...Friday can be free day and most places are less crowded.

 

My dd is getting her drivers permit.:nopity::svengo:

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Hi LauraGB,

 

My kids weren't entertaining themselves well when we had some screens everyday. The screen option was so tempting . . . like they walked around with perma-screen-fog, even though they weren't playing alot everyday.

 

This is my current approach to policing screens.

 

We used to do the 45 minutes a day routine, but that didn't work out at all. I had to police it hard, had to remind, remind again, speak sternly, yell, yell again, Screech. It made me crazy.

 

We transitioned to Mon-Fri @ 4 pm is a complete screen ban, NXT research being the exception. Friday night is Family Movie Night, we so avoid the fight of who's doing what. They train Saturday morning and we're on the go Saturday afternoons. That leaves Sat. evening and Sunday late afternoon to play screens. If I'm feeling like an energetic parent, we go skating on Sunday afternoons/evenings.

 

All that to say that that I don't have to police during the week, and I step up my fun mothering on the weekend so they'd rather be playing with the fam than screening out. It motivates me to get moving because I know it's better for me and them.

 

Entertaining themselves has become much easier!

 

Food for thought.

T

Edited by Sweetpeach
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Mine can entertain themselves. They mostly read, but they sometimes play or write, and often wrestle.

 

I find that it's important to have some screen-free days in the week - for us, it's Monday to Friday - somehow, if there's screen time every day, it sucks away the will to do anything else.

 

Laura

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We are a screens-free home & have been since my 7yo DS was born. We have a DVD player (13 inch tv) for the occasional family movie (or when someone is sick).

 

My children have no problem entertaining themselves...

 

Legos

Lincoln logs

Knex

wooden train set

dollhouse

building forts inside and out.

playing make believe (Robin Hood, Pirates, Old West, Spies, etc)

Playdough

Crafts

Sewing

Building models

Drawing

Coloring

Painting

Cooking

Puzzles

Games

Books

Stacking Firewood

Tending their garden

Bird watching

Playing with chalk outside

Matchbox cars

 

Well, the list could go on forever. I think you have to view it the same way you do ditching sugar in their diets. It takes 2 weeks or so for the cravings to go away, and in this case, for the imagination to kick in.

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Mine can entertain themselves. They mostly read, but they sometimes play or write, and often wrestle.

 

I find that it's important to have some screen-free days in the week - for us, it's Monday to Friday - somehow, if there's screen time every day, it sucks away the will to do anything else.

 

Laura

 

:iagree:

 

I've gone to a no screen time M-F as well. It was just causing too much trouble and they seemed to forget how to do other things. The XBox actually gets packed up Sunday night - out of sight, out of mind.

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Oh, yes. Although I am also OK with electronics.

 

Some things they do daily besides electronics- read, play guitar, piano, drums, listen to music, run (as in not jog lol), ride bikes, play outside (teen play basketball, and have summer stuff they like to do-- we live near the ocean), walk to village/beach, care for animals, play with animals, cook, bake, play board games (Settlers of Cat an & Clue, mostly, and they are on a Life kick. My girls also invented a chess game using Pokemon skills instead of knights, rooks etc), draw, make things with art supplies, knit, write. The younger son plays piano while the little one does ballet to his music. This is often funny). Younger one also plays with her toys-- stuffies, Playmobil, Schleich fairies and horses etc. She also sings to herself as she draws on the chalboards or white boards. She enjoys making private areas, forts etc. My oldest dd is an artist , and she does a lot of her art on the computer, which makes sense to me.

 

They certainly can have Guitar Hero or movie marathons, yet it seems very balanced to me. My girls watched two movies this morning, but they are now playing Boggle and plan to cook dinner. My youngest ds has a friend over for the afternoon. He was playing piano this morning, but is now watching a movie.

Edited by LibraryLover
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My kids entertain themselves all too well. It's getting them to do what I think they should do that tends to be the problem.

 

I set up my sun room off the kitchen and dining room as a permanent Playmobile room. Miss Bossy can spend hours alone in there playing and talking to herself.

 

Miss Good has been known to spend days in her room, only coming out once a day to eat. She draws, plays dolls, sews and listens to audio books.

 

 

I will admit that Mr. Clever prefers to entertain himself with his computer, but he also likes to walk in the woods, ride his bike, and spend time with the animals.

 

Miss Good always has more projects planned than she has time for. Right now, she is building more fences. This afternoon, she wants to work on a picture book she is writing to give away for Christmas presents.

 

There are two things that I did that I think helped them learn to play alone. When they were little, we did school in the morning, and I gave them lunch on the patio. If they stayed playing outside, I left them alone. If they came in the house, we did more school. They spent days making houses out of sticks and leaves, and making up elaborate stories.

 

When I was tired, or had a headache, I would send them all upstairs to "clean". Nothing ever got clean, but they would stay up their all day playing together and feeling so lucky that they were avoiding cleaning, but also scared to come downstairs in case that made me go inspect their progress.

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Well, I'm really impressed with you all!

 

I really didn't think 30 minutes of each thing (for a daily total of 1 1/2 hrs), only after all school work and chores were complete, was really going to be that detrimental. I'm shocked, quite frankly. I limit the time because I don't like them to passively spend thier time (especially at this age) watching what other people have done; people write the screen play, people act it out, people write the computer programs, etc. Dd usually finds something to do - but she does request extra computer time practically daily (and I only rarely allow it).

 

Last school year we had a no tv M-F rule. I think we'll need to adopt this practice again. But then I feel bad because there are certain shows they like to watch regularly, some of them even educational. Oh, and dh would burst, I think (this is what happened when we got rid of cable a while back - it lasted about 3 weeks before we had it back again). He and I were both raised in households where the tv was ALWAYS on, whether someone was watching it or not. (However, I can't stand the tv now, for the most part.)

 

I'm tempted to keep ds "grounded" until he can figure out what to do with himself, but I'm afraid that would be more of a punishment than really I intended - like it doesn't quite fit the crime, somehow.

 

Thanks for the insight, everyone!

Edited by LauraGB
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Yes, thankfully, my girls are very good at entertaining themselves. And like a pp said, sometimes I can't get them to quit playing to do school. They love to make up games, play board games, do crafts, draw, read, play with all our pets, etc. And even though they are girls, they LOVE to wrestle! :D

 

They do watch TV almost daily and have 30 minutes of computer time a few days a week. We don't have any video games.

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Last school year we had a no tv M-F rule. I think we'll need to adopt this practice again. But then I feel bad because there are certain shows they like to watch regularly, some of them even educational.

 

For example, there is a David Attenborough series running here at the moment. I record it, then we sit down and watch it as a family at weekends.

 

Laura

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Laura - I would type up the list you just gave us with ideas of what to do and post it on your fridge. Let them know that these are the options or they are welcome to come up with more ideas....but they will not badger you all day about how to spend their time. Give them 1-2 warnings when they bug you and after that, give them chores (not for the rest of the day or anything, just give them a chore and insist they do it. then when they are done, redirect them to figure out how to spend their time)

 

As to the original question, mine do pretty well entertaining themselves but in the last few months my 9yo has started with the "I'm bored" routine more and more. I assumed it was him making the transition from wanting to play toys all the time to being a bit older and not as interested in toys. I do think I have it a bit easier because I have so many kids close in age that have similar interests. They frequently figure out what to do together.

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My 11yo is the only one with this issue and it's because she is very people-oriented. She can entertain herself with an audiobook and legoes for a long while, but she needs daily extensive interaction with people the same way she needs to breathe (just not as much).

 

She went to ps for a whopping two weeks in 5th grade and found that the kind of interaction she got there (actually almost no interaction since they were supposed to sit quietly) did not meet her needs.

 

She can fill up some of her interaction meter with animal interactions, but needs people too.

 

I have looser limits on electronics. They used to be tighter, but I loosened them when I saw that my kids handled themselves well. They each get one-hour turns on the Wii. The 11yo will often do two turns in a day, but then may not get on at all for a week. She probably averages 4-5 hours/week except when we have just gotten a new game. They get 45-minute turns on the DS (one DS for all three to share). She rarely does more than one turn except when she has gotten a new game. She probably averages 1-2 hours/week on it. She is on the computer for maybe 1 hour/week. That's usually in 5 minute spurts to look up faqs or walkthroughs for whatever game she is playing. There are times when she goes a full week without doing anything on the DS, Wii, or computer just because she doesn't feel like it.

 

There was one point this summer where the Wii wasn't touched for a full month by anybody except me doing a weigh-in on Wii Fit. Nobody was grounded from it. We were just busy doing other stuff.

 

The only one I've ever had to ground from electronics is my oldest and it was the computer. She hasn't spent more than an hour on the game systems in the past two months. The computer is where she wants to spend all her time. She's 16yo though and will be on her own in 1.5 years. I won't be able to regulate her when she's in college. I want her to learn how to regulate herself while she's still here where I can help her. She spends a lot of time on the computer.

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I assumed it was him making the transition from wanting to play toys all the time to being a bit older and not as interested in toys.

 

I think this may have something to do with our situation, as well. Its hard for me to tell because the computer and Wii time is relatively new - within the last year. It coincided with the boredom, but also they are nearly 11 (next month) and thier interests are different than they were when they were 7, 8, 9 years old (when the boredom wasn't really a problem).

 

Hmmm...

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Yes, they need to be able to entertain themselves without electronics.

 

We went through a phase that sounds similar ... my solution was to tell them they needed to find something to do with themselves or I would set them to doing chores to make good use of their time. Pestering me or anyone else was not acceptable. Moping around "punishing" me with their dissatisfaction was not acceptable. They needed to use their brains and figure something out. They managed.

 

Books was a big part of the solution ... so I'd recommend making sure they have lots of books at hand. DD began doing a lot of creative writing just for grins. Legos came back out of the storage closet. It didn't happen overnight, but it didn't take too long, either. I think the chores were a big motivator :)

 

HTH,

Karen

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My oldest cannot entertain herself but the younger two are great at it. I'm guessing my oldest cannot because she had me to play with her for two years without siblings and she's always had a friend either next door or across the street. She's getting better now that she's older and can read well. She is also getting better at plaing with her sister which is nice.

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I keep a list of chores that need to be done for people who say they are bored. I do give them one warning before assigning them. They are pretty good at finding something to do. My 11yo ds has a fort on our property and will spend hours there. My 10yo dd still plays pretend with her baby dolls, and my 12yo dd usually spends her time writing. Then there is Legos and board games.

 

I have noticed when my 11yo ds follows me around saying he is bored, what he really means is that he needs time with ME.

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I love that a previous poster said, "I never play with them." I really don't play with my daughter, either, and some people think that's weird or mean. I think it means we have vastly different interests - there's a 24-year age gap, so it stands to reason! When my friends complains they have to play with their children all the time or the children are bored, I think THAT'S weird! My daughter can happily entertain herself, and we spend lots of time together learning, reading, and working side-by-side. We also limit screen time to one hour a week after school is done, so I agree that that helps.

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I have often felt this way about my kids. They are clueless about what to do when there is no tv/computer.

 

Give it time. I bet they will come up with something to do. Mine usually do. They discover books they never knew they had or rediscover old ones. They pull out a box of markers and make pictures. My daughter has actually cleaned her room (bags and bags of trash removed!)

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We're also pretty screen-free during the week. DS plays x-box with Daddy - but for short times on weekends. Occasionally I will let them watch one 30 minute show during the week. They rarely ask for either since they know that's an auto "no". With no media around they play, a lot! They also read a lot.

 

Would my kids follow me around, I would give chores out for nagging. I would lay down the rules ("you are to entertain yourself here at home for x hours without any electronics, and without bugging me..." etc.) and then let them know that by breaking them they are asking for a chore. I'd make the chores tedious and long. Sweep the driveway and bag up the refuse. Move the woodpile. Etc. I would expect for the first few times that I would have no peace - but that I'd be there to give out and enforce the chores while they adjust to the new normal. But I doubt it would take long to train them to entertain themselves.

 

And I'd leave the screens off until they are well detoxed and don't ask for them for a week.

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I have six children living at home, two adult ones and four younger children ages 11, 9, 6 and 4.

 

I keep a big plastic bucket that sits on top of our refrigerator marked "Bored Bucket".

 

The kids all know that if they ever come and whine to me that they are bored, they will be handed the bucket. This has only ever had to be used two times for bored children, they all learned pretty quickly to keep any bored comments to themselves.

 

The bucket is chock full of cleaning supplies and a detailed mom written instructional bucket on how to clean each room properly and in it's entirety. Included in the bucket is a special toothbrush to scrub the grout and tiles on the bathroom floor.

 

For some reason, my kids are never bored at all in our home. :lol: And we don't even have cable or allow internet use very often. On the plus side, they are all voracious readers and enjoy playing with each other and keeping each other occupied with legos, lincoln logs, playmobil and other group play toys.

 

P.S. The Bored Bucket also doubles as a Discipline Bucket. We have Discipline Bucket written on the opposite side. I just turn it around when said child is acting up. On top of our fridge, I keep a large ball canning jar full of paper slips with individual chores written on each piece of paper such as: clean toilet, sweep kitchen floor, fold wash, clean out closet, rake leaves etc..... When said child gets into trouble, I make him/her pick a slip of paper from the canister and assign his/her punishment. If the child was very naughty, they role a dice and pick the amount of slips equal to the number on the dice. This might keep a very naughty child busy for hours. This has been a wonderful discipline tool in our home, I found that I never have to yell and my home gets sparkling clean. I sometimes tease them by asking them to all please misbehave today, I really need a lot of extra chores done on the weekends !

Edited by Momma2Many66
forgot something
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Yes BUT I often do not like what they have chosen to fill their time. Often it is something that creates a major mess, destroys something or is something off limits. That said if the older 2 play on their own they are currently into crafts, specifically paper sculptor, or in the case od dd pop up cards as well. Ds6 tends to go play in his room with paper, tape, pens etc. He likes to write notes to the girl next door. He also will spend time building forts and such.

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First, I completely understand what you're talking about. In fact, my husband and I were recently having a serious discussion about eliminating all access to screens for a month in order to jump start the process of figuring out what to do without screens. Both kids have a serious problem with this.

 

One thing I do which helps is if my son is bugging me to do something when he has no screen time is to start assigning chores. This has a two fold effect--it gives him something to do and causes him to think twice about complaining he has nothing to do in the future.

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My kids used to have this problem too. DD and DS wouldn't want to play together. DD would walk around, full of drama, "I'm booooorrrrreeeedddd!" when she wasn't sitting in front of the tv, computer, vSmile, etc.

 

Then I took a friend's advice and cut them off. No TV during the hours the kids were awake, except for movie night once a week. No video games. No playing on the computer. The first three days were awful. The kids got on my nerves, I got on their nerves, and they were continually testing me to see if I would relent.

 

By the end of the first week, things were significantly better. So I kept it up. Soon they played together without fighting. They were considerate. They no longer had an attitude every time I asked them to do something. And they helped out without me having to ask them!

 

We've been limiting TV time for almost a year and I wouldn't go back the other way. My house is more peaceful. My kids are much more obedient. And it's amazing how much more creative they are now when they play! They don't rely on mass media to give them ideas of how to play...acting out TV shows they've seen...but they come up with their own plots. Now the TV doesn't hold their attention - if it's on, they're more likely to ask to turn it off than to sit in front of it and stare at it!

 

Stick with the no-TV time and see what happens. Although it might take longer to break the habit the older the kids are...

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My kids can and do entertain themselves. Even the baby does whether I want him to or not. :tongue_smilie:

 

I just read "Hold On To Your Kids" by Neufeld. In the book he says that when kids complain of boredom that they are seeking to connect with you.

 

My suggestion is to ignore everything else you need to get done, and do something with your kids.

 

I find that if one of my kids does say he's bored, and we play for a bit, they are able go off play without me.

 

Oh, I wanted to add that you can watch Neufeld's videos online, and see if what he talks about is like what your kids are doing.

Edited by Kleine Hexe
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My kids used to have this problem too. DD and DS wouldn't want to play together. DD would walk around, full of drama, "I'm booooorrrrreeeedddd!" when she wasn't sitting in front of the tv, computer, vSmile, etc.

 

Then I took a friend's advice and cut them off. No TV during the hours the kids were awake, except for movie night once a week. No video games. No playing on the computer. The first three days were awful. The kids got on my nerves, I got on their nerves, and they were continually testing me to see if I would relent.

 

By the end of the first week, things were significantly better. So I kept it up. Soon they played together without fighting. They were considerate. They no longer had an attitude every time I asked them to do something. And they helped out without me having to ask them!

 

We've been limiting TV time for almost a year and I wouldn't go back the other way. My house is more peaceful. My kids are much more obedient. And it's amazing how much more creative they are now when they play! They don't rely on mass media to give them ideas of how to play...acting out TV shows they've seen...but they come up with their own plots. Now the TV doesn't hold their attention - if it's on, they're more likely to ask to turn it off than to sit in front of it and stare at it!

 

Stick with the no-TV time and see what happens. Although it might take longer to break the habit the older the kids are...

 

:iagree: We have strict screen time as well.

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It sounds to me like he's decided to punish you back. What does he do on regular days outside of the half hour he's allowed screen time? If he is generally able to entertain himself, it may be he's trying to bug you enough to relent and allow him some screen time out of desperation.

 

:glare: BTDT

 

In that case, the answer is to hand the problem back to him. Tell him, "Son, I'm sorry you are having such a hard time finding something to do but cruise director isn't part of my job description. I'll be happy to find you some work to do. Otherswise, scat and go entertain yourself."

 

Barb

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My kids are really good at entertaining themselves, and I dread the day when ds11 thinks he's too old to play the silly stuff he plays w/dds. I also don't nag too much on the huge messes they make in the basement with all of thier craziness.

I have a problem when his friends come over though--they're so used to being entertained electronically that they don't seem to enjoy coming to our house. I'm considering getting a ping pong table and putting in a basketball court. My disappointment is that none of my kids turns to a book for entertainment. But they do play rather creatively.

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Mine don't know hor to entertain themselves too, but they at least play together. My issue is them not knowing what to do without someone playing with them and it's earth-shattering if their siblings don't feel like playing. They're so lost and forlorn.:glare:

 

We ban computer use M-F because it becomes their lives...if they used it for anything other than games, it wouldn't be a big deal.

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A few thoughts you can take or leave, ignore if they aren't relevant to you ;)

 

I think that many of us, children in included, have a built in tendency to enjoy the lazy options when they are available. We don't have a television or any gaming technology. We do have a computer, but ds6yo is only allowed on it for his math lessons and the girls aren't allowed to use it at all (except once in a blue moon when we show them something on YouTube). However, they will always choose to be read to over reading something for themselves, and would rather I tidy their rooms then do it themselves. So it's definitely normal, especially if your son is used to spending a lot of his free time with electronic entertainment.

 

Another thing is, whatever you designate a 'privilege' and withdraw or limit, is going to be seen more positively. They will always crave the forbidden - or limited - fruit! Of course your child can amuse himself. But he doesn't fancy entertaining himself if he can get the computer, or you, to entertain him.

 

Which brings me to the third point: I read somewhere that it is actually good for children to experience a bit of boredom. If we as parents feel responsible for our kids being entertained, and we can't bear to leave them at a loose end for an hour, then they are not going to let their natural creativity come out, because they are expecting us to caretake.

 

 

Bearing all that in mind, if you would like them to demonstrate more capacity to entertain themselves and less reliance on the computer etc, I would suggest you consider doing the following:

*Take care not to use computer (or TV or electronic gaming) time as a reward, or use its withdrawal as a punishment, because doing so gives them the message that these things are special and better than activities that aren't treated that way, eg reading books.

*You might feel you need to limit time spent on electronic activities. If so, don't give the message that you're limiting it because they aren't behaving well. Just enforce the limit, and if they want to know why, explain your reasons (eg it's not healthy to sit still all day, it's not good for their brains, or whatever your reasons are).

*Model the desired behavior. If I get straight on the computer every time Ihave a free moment, my kids are going to think that this is more appropriate than reading, running around outside, etc. So let them see you enjoying physically and mentally healthy forms of relaxation.

*Similarly, if they have friends who are technology addicted, it might be possible to encourage them to spend time with other friends, or family members, who aren't so into that stuff.

*Let them be bored. Let them be bored. Let them be bored. Instead of saying "Well you could do a, b, c, d or e" saying something like "Looks like you're bored now you've used up your computer time. What are you going to do?" If he whinges and says there's nothing to do, say "That's tough. You'll think of something."

*But, if you think that it's not just laziness, and he really can't think of things to do, you could brainstorm a long list of possible activities and post it somewhere so that the kids can pick one when they're bored.

*Invite them to do things with you when practical. If you're doing something fun or interesting they might like to join you. They might not want to join you in cleaning out the fridge (my kids actually do, but I suspect kids grow out of that!), but at least they will see that you're just trying to get your stuff done, rather than especially wanting to fob them off.

*And related to the above, check in with them: are they really asking for ideas for what to do, or are they asking for time with you? Depending on their ages, you could either ask them to leave you alone for an hour and then you'll all do something fun together, or give them some time first and then they have to leave you alone until you've got your stuff done.

 

 

ETA - just looked and saw that your dc are 10yo. At that age, they should definitely be able to amuse themselves for a good chunk of time. I would suspect that they just don't show that ability because you are so kind with providing things for them to do. If you are willing to try backing off and leaving them to their own devices a bit more, you might be surprised at how creative they actually are :)

Edited by Hotdrink
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A few thoughts you can take or leave, ignore if they aren't relevant to you ;)

 

 

:) I need advice of all sorts to consider because what I've been doing obviously isn't working!

 

I think we will go screen free M-F, have a movie night on Fri or Sat, let the kids catch up with a show or two that they have recorded from the week on Sat morning. That takes care of the tv. Not quite sure how to handle the computer other than it is going back to the educational tool it was supposed to have been when I purchased it for them. Not positive about the Wii yet either because they like to do the WiiFit and the winters around here are long and cold. I'd like to just ditch it all together - have some more thinking to do on that one.

 

Tomorrow we will sit down together and make a list of things they can do when they are bored. A really big list. I like the idea of having the "boredom bucket/box" that was suggested - the one that also doubles as a "discipline box". We need one of those. I also need to get real with the "one warning, one consequence" thing - I let that get way out hand before I blow my top and award the consequence. I've been telling ds to go find something to do because if he asks me again, I'll find something for him to do so many times these past few days...but I never hand the broom over!

 

Thanks again!

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My boys do enjoy computer and video time, but they also ride bikes, play outside, and play Legos and Playmobil. They both love to draw, and Nathan can spend hours drawing while listening to audio books. Ben likes papercrafts. They act out movies and books together as well. They still play with fake food and dishes. LOL Sometimes they'll play with puzzles and games too.

 

I have been pretty lucky in that Nathan has been this way most of his life, and Ben is happy if he can follow Nathan around.

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What works for us is me requiring DD to have chores and schoolwork (including homework assigned for after I'm sleeping) done before she can have screen time. Every time I bend or break this, we have problems.

 

She doesn't get in trouble for not finishing chores or homework, aside from not having screen time. So if she wants to play all day while I sleep, that's fine. Often she'll nap. She does get VERY upset if she can't watch TV at bedtime, so the day following the loss of that privilege she's far more likely to do what she's supposed to.

 

Because I work nights and DD has to be left to her own devices many afternoons, I don't limit screen time beyond the requirements of what must be done first, or grounding (by the hour) for not obeying when sent to time-out. It is quite frankly my most effective tool for getting her cooperation.

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Our kids do love the electronic stuff, but they can entertain themselves. My ds can spend hours at the table with soldiers set up for battle. He even uses those little bear counting manipulatives. My dd loves to read and write. She was at her grandparents when school supplies first came out. The 70 page spiral notebooks were on sale for .05. They bought her 20 and she has plans for all of them. A few are for some things she does with a neighbor, but most are for writing. They will play together some: spy stuff and Star Wars stuff (BIG FANS here).

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DD5 cannot entertain herself to save her life. Sometimes she wanders around the house like she's lost, saying she has nothing to do. She'll follow my every step. (Just about drives me bonkers LOL). She's been this way since she was a toddler. DD2 is a completely different story. She can sit and play all by herself with her little people for hours on end. She needs no one else. She loves for her sister to play with her, but it is not necessity.

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I find that it's important to have some screen-free days in the week - for us, it's Monday to Friday - somehow, if there's screen time every day, it sucks away the will to do anything else.

 

Laura

:iagree:

 

I answer "i'm bored." with "Awesome! What a great opportunity to be creative." My kids roll their eyes, but there is always dog poo to pickup.

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Mine (currently 17, 15, 13 - all boys) absolutely can entertain themselves and always have been able to. I think that is one of their greatest assets.

 

On long car trips they have no electronics of any sort and they often make up their own games to play. Here at home they pull out board games or make up their own games. My middle son loves to read. The other two sometimes pull out any sort of critter (plastic, stuffed, not live) they can find and do Narnia style wars - making their own ammo out of anything they can think of and some rubber bands.

 

We do have TV, but we limit the time it can be watched to just family time when we all watch things together (rotating who gets to pick what is watched and all taped on a DVR to fast forward commercials). We also have a computer, but it's limited to schoolwork - and lately - chess.com. We have a couple of handheld games, but they've never really been popular with the boys.

 

When the weather is decent they play outside - building forts, playing Jedi, target shooting with their BB guns and who knows what else.

 

As to how we got them that way? I'm not really sure. We just expected it of them, and like another poster said, if they ever came to me 'bored' I always gave them jobs - not a good alternative I suppose!

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My kids are a bit younger at 5 and 6, but they do entertain themselves quite nicely. Their screen time is also tied to their chores. They earn an hour of screen time- TV and/or computer if they do all their chores in a week. So, the screen time is very limited anyway.

 

On the rare occasions that one of them has claimed to be bored, I tell them to find something to do or I will find something for them to do and it won't be optional! That usually gets them to go away and let me finish cleaning or doing whatever I was trying to do. I do make it a point to play with them everyday for at least a half an hour, so they feel like I'm paying direct attention to them, and we also read together for an hour and a half every night.

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Shouldn't they be able to entertain themselves independently by now? Do your kids follow you around all day looking for something to do with themselves, only to find out at the end of the day that that's all they really did and just wasted an entire day??

 

No, but then they've never had much access to TV, video games, or computers to entertain them, and I've never been willing to entertain them, so they've learned the hard way.

 

It is perfectly reasonable that your dc should be able to productively employ themselves; as a matter of fact, it is a necessary life skill. If it were me, anyone not entertaining themself would be sweeping under your bed for you. :D

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Chiming in once more re: WiiFit and long, cold winters.

 

If the kids can play a 1/2 hour of Wii fit and break a sweat . . . boxing, balancing, DDR . . . a game that can break a good sweat than I'm up for that. In my mind, it's more about the exercise and less about sitting on their butts with a screened-out brain.

 

And if I could figure out a way to power my television via the treadmill, they could watch a program every afternoon.

 

My biggest beef with screens isn't really screen content [within reason] . . . it's the lethargic, don't wanna do anything else, can't get moving, prefer easy rather than engaging all day long that makes me crazy. Hovering, waiting for screen-time makes me flop with defeat.

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I've always found that the best way to spark creativity in children is to ground them from "screen" time for about a week. The first couple days are a royal pain, but then they begin to get the picture. I would make a list of enjoyable things for them to choose from. If they whine, they get chores. Sometimes, having them help with chores and making it a game or just plain silly can be helpful as well.

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