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How to entertain a mind that doesn't rest?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My 5 year old just goes all day. She wants constant interaction. But how do I keep her mind busy without losing mine?!

She's having more problems with tantrums lately and I believe it pretty much boils down to 2 different things: boredom & power struggles. I think more structure would help with these problems. Maybe create a schedule and write it on a dry erase board and hang it up. Have some system on there regarding discipline, also.

I just really need some advice from people who understand what it's like to raise a child like this. If you have schedules, share them, please! What kinds of activities do you do? Any websites you frequent to give you ideas? Places to print out worksheets and what-not?

Thanks. I'm getting drained and desperate.
post #2 of 18
Oh gosh, I can really relate to this! My nearly 7 year old son requires constant activity, interaction and learning experiences. My three year old is much more laid back and happy to explore the various things we have in our house. Quite honestly, the best system we have found is to keep our son very busy and engaged in a variety of things. Unfortunately, it can get expensive as well as exhausting. On Saturday, we took a 2 mile hike in the morning, came home for lunch, and then dh took him to a Tae Kwan Do presentation (he takes lessons, and his masters were performing!) at the beach about 45 minutes away. When they got home, we went out to dinner with family friends. Sunday, ds and dh spent the day at a museum. The only downtime our son tolerates is in the car, driving toward a destination! So for us, sometimes it's good to plan trips that require some moderate driving!! We go to many museums (almost one every weekend), performances/shows, beach, hiking...anything we can find to do, we do. My sister commented last night on how much stuff we "do," and I let her know it was purely out of necessity!
post #3 of 18
First, I think that some of the touchiness and tantrumming may be a five year old thing. At least, I hope so. My newly five year old is definitely moodier at five than she was at four.

I do notice that she is better with the right balance of activity and solitude and enough books to stun a yak. My dd1 is an introvert and needs hours a day reading and pretending. She also needs to outside running and exploring. On the days we get the balance right, she is a delight.
post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom View Post
enough books to stun a yak.
I just found my new motto!! Ha (did I mention we're moving and I am now up to about 20 boxes of BOOKS!! And I just sold 15 boxes a couple years ago, sigh!)

I agree that is could be 5. There is lots of crying, tempertantrums, and anger at 5 (or there was at our house, and other kids' we know). We had more tempertantrums at 5 and 6 than all of 1-4!!

I also have perpetual art projects going. A box full of recylables, paper, pens, glue, glitter, etc. Then they can cut and glue while I do something else nearby.

I also send my oldest to his room for a little quiet time. He has a fit and doesn't want to, but once there, he will play for a couple hours and come out much calmer! (I make it clear that he is not in trouble, just needs a little break and can come out anytime after 10 minutes.)
post #5 of 18
post #6 of 18
cdahlgrd, are you packing up my house while I'm gone?
post #7 of 18
A book of mazes!
post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
A book of mazes!
OMG no, you did NOT just say that. We bought opne at Barnes and Noble yesterday afternoon. I actually had to place a limit on the number of mazes I would allow ds to complete before dinner, or he'd have finished the whole $9.00 book in an hour or two! So, I told him, "5 before dinner, and 5 after dinner, and the rest another time." Guess what? I heard the toilet flush at 5:45 this morning, and by 6:30 he popped into the room with the declaration, "I just finished the mummy maze book. Can you buy me the castle one today while I'm at camp?" He'll be buying that one with his own money, I told him!!
post #9 of 18
heh heh! I'm envisioning a self-perpetuating machine: do extra chores for $, buy maze book, do mazes, do extra chores...
post #10 of 18
I know when I was a kid, my parents utilized some cheap entertainment that kept my mind working. I am not sure on the age limits on all these since I am not a parent, but you know that better than me probably anyway

-Books (rent them from the library for free)
-Card Games (four decks of cards, maybe a book or two if you don't know a lot of games and you can play tons of games)
-Drawing (any mostly plain paper and markers/crayons)
-Dolls/Figures/Animals (Dolls, little plastic animals, etc. to play with)
-Board Games (Ones that have multiple games in one are great)
-"Pretend" (Pretend to be animals, a family, etc. best with other kids or with adults)
-Tag (lots of versions of this game)
-Logic puzzles (preferably ones with lots of ways to do them)
-Fort Building (using boxes, cushions, etc.)
-Flash cards (math problems, trivia, etc.)
post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
heh heh! I'm envisioning a self-perpetuating machine: do extra chores for $, buy maze book, do mazes, do extra chores...
I know you're partially joking, but it's a great idea, actually. I could definitely get into that...but so far, he has not been terribly receptive to the idea of doing chores for money. I have, on occasion, raised the possibility of "allowance" and compared it to the way I work and get paid for the job I do. He has, thus far, been uninterested. He does save his money from birthdays and holidays, so he has plenty (in a Ziploc bag ). But in terms of "using" chores to keep him busy, I am afraid we aren't there yet. We haven't purchased maze book 2 yet, and this morning, he's into magic tricks, so that's good.

The real answer to how to keep them busy? CAMP! Ds has been at daycamp for 6 weeks, from 9 am- 3:30 pm each weekday. Since he wakes up by 5:45 each morning, we still have plenty of "free" time in our day. And after camp, we go to the pool, or to the beach, or a friend's house, or the book store. But if he wasn't at camp for that big chunk of the day, I really could never keep him busy enough. Unfortunately, we finish camp tomorrow. It is just tooooo expensive to continue through the summer, and theoretically, I do like the idea of some unstructured weeks before the beginning of school. Let's see if I can survive!
post #12 of 18
Ooo, yes we are happy for year-round school here. Shorter breaks, no camp strictly necessary.

I am trying to think how we got DS interested in work for money. He does some chores anyway, and gets an allowance anyway, and those are not related to each other. But if he wants something that costs a lot of money, I come up with things I need done that he can do, and he earns it. I guess the impetus for it is that he wants something. For example, he wanted a certain electronic thing that will go unnamed lest people throw tomatoes at my head here (LOL) and it was 20 bucks. I thought it was waaaay too much, but gave him the option of earning it. He worked really hard! Sweeping the driveway, watching his sister (mothers-helper style), cleaning out the cars. It was not make-work; I really need those things done. He was proud of doing it, and took good care of the thing afterwards.
post #13 of 18
post #14 of 18
I just this summer explained to dd that I need some time to myself in order to be a happy person. Maybe she is a particularly sensitive four-year-old, but it has worked so far.
That and, yeah, enough books for twenty children. She reads so well on her own now that she can spend quite awhile next to me on the bed while I nap. This was the summer I've decided to make up for all the sleep I've lost in the last four years.
I also get a Montessori catalogue. and I spent this past Saturday morning with a friend buying school supplies and also making my own little Montessori activities. This has helped a bit. I also just restocked dd's art bin. She likes to draw.
I bought her some journals. She loves making up stories.
Lego are wonderful.
Also, Playmobile are well used around here.
I try and think of activities and games she would enjoy. I do some with her and now I make sure I have enough time for me to relax even if it's only for a bit.
post #15 of 18
My dd is (6 in 8 weeks) similiar but she does not require constant interaction with me. Sometimes she asks for it when I am trying to work, when she knows I need to be working, but I accept that as an age thing. My dd has a wild imagination, and can play by herself for a long time, which is good b/c she's an only child, but there are other times when she sounds alot like your dd. We can be sitting down to eat dinner and other basic things that don't require a lot of movement/talking from others, and she'll say "I'm bored." We're just like "sorry kiddo, but dinner is about eating." This kid takes 3x or more as long as we do to eat b/c she can't sit still. She always wants to be moving and talking.

We have fairly busy schedules sometimes, others I appreciate the down time. I work on call 10 days a month at the birth center and have an eco-friendly cleaning business that she usually tags along with me. Things will be chaning this fall a little though, as she starts "school" We homeschool year round but this fall we'll start taking some classes through the district for homeschoolers. It will just be three classes, two on Tuesdays, one on Wed's and then we'll go from that class to her Fastrackids class which is educational enrichment program for two hours a week. Plus I always keep her in a physical activity class like gymnastics or jazz. This way she stays socialized and doesn't complain too much about being "bored."

We have Lots of work books for writing, math, mazes, which she loves, laying around for her to do, and coloring. We recently started a Chore Chart to help keep her focused and she earns points to buy things from the closet, like books, Lego's, DVD's, etc... We spend 30-50 minuts each day reading. She reads some to me and we read alot to her. I think the board is a good idea and kind of like what we are doing, it's working so well for Payton.

Do keep her busy with outings? Does she get to use the computer? Payton's been using the computer for two years now, fun educational websites or games.
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by mama2mygirl View Post
I just this summer explained to dd that I need some time to myself in order to be a happy person.
I could see DD going for this. But if I told DS explicitly that I needed time to myself, he would take it as rejection & need even more attention!
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
I could see DD going for this. But if I told DS explicitly that I needed time to myself, he would take it as rejection & need even more attention!
Hmmm...Now there is some insight for me. I never thought that telling him I needed time to myself to recharge would be viewed as a rejection. That explains some things.
Yes, my 4.5 year old needs constant interaction. I thought it was a first born thing but I think it is also a gifted thing. His down time is watching Mr. Rogers or Handy Manny. He stopped napping at 2.5 when I was prego with DS2.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
ParisAnne, I TOTALLY know about the eating thing! DD takes forever to eat. I sometimes wonder in restaurants what other people are thinking when I'm sitting there saying "Chew and swallow. Take another bite. Hey! Stop talking and eat. You need to eat. Take a bite. Now chew it." lol I don't mind so much at home about taking so long to eat but I don't feel like sitting in a restaurant for 2 hours waiting on her to finish eating. I hate to pay money for a meal and then have her not eat it because she's too busy talking and trying to ham it up for everybody around her.

I like the idea about maze books. She likes them. But sometimes she cheats and tells me the line "jumped" the wall. lol She had lego at one point but never really played with it, but maybe I could try it again. It's just hard to find toys for her that she will actually play with. She plays best with the computer. I got her a new program called Jump Start World and she loves it. She's been using the computer for a couple years now. She started out with puzzles and logic games and moved on. The right hand side of the desktop is "hers" she has like 28 links to websites and programs, lol. She had a favorite for a long time that was an artificial life game called Norns. I downloaded the Dockingstation for free at http://www.gamewaredevelopment.co.uk...=19_0_10_0_M37 And I surfed around for downloads for new breeds and new foods/toys, etc But I guess after several months of playing it like heck she got burnt out. It's a cute game so I thought I'd share it.

NickJr and Nick.com are two of her favorite websites.

Thanks for the suggestions! I bought flash cards, activity books, etc
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