Are you your child's playmate why-why not - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-06-2007, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ive noticed at the playground people very engrossed in their child's play and people on here discussing all the things they play with their children.

I have never considered myself my child's playmate. I just dont see why it's necessary for me to play with him. Sure if he needs assistance on a puzzle or a computer game or whatever Ill give him a few pointers and then go about my business. If he wants time with me I have him help me load the dishwasher or try to explain to him about doing our bills. He seems to enjoy this just as much as me playing trains with him or whatever.

Ive noticed a lot of judgment from both sides on the issue. It seems moms who play with their kids feel moms who don't are nelectful or don't enjoy their kids and moms who don't play think moms who do are too involved.

So what are your opinions on the subject...

Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011

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Old 12-06-2007, 12:10 PM
 
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I am my 5 year olds playmate. She loves it when I spend time with her and always has. Now that she's older the play consists of doing crafts or playing games. If she sees me working she wants to help. I believe her love language is quality time and if we don't make an effort to get down on her level and interact (through play, housework, cuddle time) her behavior lets us know she is not feeling loved.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:00 PM
 
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I put that as a question because it's just a feeling I have.

My kids often wanted me to play with them when they were little and even now my 6yo likes me to be involved with him.

However when they have playmates available, they forget about me

Also my kids never really clicked with many of the kids at playgroup so they still wanted me to play with them. When they were playing with different kids they were happy to play without me.

ETA: to the OP-it sounds like you have lots of fun with your dc doing what you do

Like I said above, it may depend on the personality of the child. Some of mine aren't as much into independent play.
I think it was mostly a matter of not having playmates around. I wonder if that's the case with some other parents.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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Yes, I play w/ him and also encourage him to know how to entertain himself at times. But I do love to play w/ him!!
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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I try to play with them. I am often not sucessful at it. I wasn't much of a pretend play person as a child either. And I don't know how to describe what they do with me, particularly if there is more than one.....they make it impossible to play. I can sometimes join them in a side-by-side thing.

Usually I'm busy and need to get something done anyways. With three often if there is a time when they are engrossed in something, that is the time I have to do something that needs to be done. Needs - not something I necessarily want to do.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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I'm somewhere in the middle. I play with DS sometimes, but I don't "get" a lot of his play. I had a weird childhood, so I don't have any experiences to fall back on in that regard. I prefer to do activities with him, whether they're going to a new museum, park, etc. or doing crafts projects. I also really involve him with my work, which he enjoys, so then he mostly wants to play with his toys on his own.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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DH and I are our 2 year old's playmates. We don't play more than requested, but do comply if she asks us to play with her. So we're child-directed in that way.

I would like for her to be able to play on her own for her sake. While I'm sure my mother was my playmate when I was very small, she must have stopped, because I don't recall her being my playmate from age 4 on (she was a very involved mother, but not my playmate).

I've kind of been figuring once DD learns to read at least a little, she will be able to spend more time on her own. That's my assumption anyway. So maybe in the near future that will happen. I certainly read a lot as a child (as most only children do) and I don't recall feeling lonely or bored really ever. Sometimes I did beg my father to play board games or chess with me!

I do worry a bit that my DD needs more friends (she sees a friend about once a month on average, and less now that it's winter) but it's been difficult for a number of reasons.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:08 PM
 
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Not really, no. Is that awful of me? i don't think so. I'm not there to be a playmate. I read lots of stories, involve them in the housework I'm doing, let them dress me up when they insist, get them started with toys/games/imaginary play, do puzzels, build block towers for knocking over, build marble runs, sing and dance with them, hide & seek, dress dolls, etc. But I don't play with them. Honestly I don't have the time in the day, and it's not enjoyable to be bossed around.

I love my kids. I think I am a kid person. But I go more the "kids living in a grown-up world" route. It makes more sense to me.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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No. I don't enjoy play, not at all. I don't think that it's my job or responsibility to play with my kids, although I do think it's my responsibility to facilitate their play and to make sure that they have playmates. I'll gladly spend a lot of time with them, cuddle them, read to them, help them with school - but play is their work, and *work* is my work. There's nothing wrong with children and adults having different and separate enjoyable activities; I'm no more alarmed by my lack of interest in play than I am by my kids' lack of interest in furniture shopping.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I enjoy pretending to be an animal, wrestling, even driving trucks around. It's fun. But I also want DS to see he has something to look forward to when he grows up--and so am clear about pursuing my grown up issues and interests. Heck I even try to read a magazine in the bathroom when he's taking a bath. But of course this is in between squirting him with his bath toys, etc. That's just me. DH and I also go on dates regularly and I work outside the home so in some people's eyes I'm probably the devil incarnate. I have enough to do without worrying about what people who don't know me think of me.

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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but play is their work, and *work* is my work. There's nothing wrong with children and adults having different and separate enjoyable activities; I'm no more alarmed by my lack of interest in play than I am by my kids' lack of interest in furniture shopping.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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I have struggled with this too. I felt that I wasn't involved enough in 'play' with my son. I've learned to relax more and allow my son to lead. If he requests that I participate with him, then I will... but on the whole, he has a fantastic imagination and can lose himself for hours with his train sets and cars and doesn't require me to be involved.

Because I once worried that I was being neglectful and not participating in his play with him, I then overstepped and began to feel that I was intruding upon his playtime and personal space.


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Old 12-06-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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I'm not concerned about play per se, but I am concerned about connection, especially during the preschool years we're kind of entering now.

For me relationships are built a lot on either doing things together, or sharing things that we've done. So I look for ways to include my son in what I do - chores and experiences I like, and I also try to stay really open to whether he's inviting me into his. Often he does come and invite me to play and it's at that moment - when he asks me - that I try to be present whether the answer is yes or no right then.

Some kids don't need that, and some kids need a lot more than my son. As long as he seems to feel connected, we're good. For me that was the big insight in Playful Parenting - not that we have to play for X minutes a day, but that play is one of the powerful tools that we have to connect to each other, outside of all the "daily grind" stuff. So I've tried to be mindful of that.

I find the division between adult stuff and kids stuff to be a little artificial. I mean yes there is definitely child play that is different and adult things kids don't do, but I'm pretty sure there is not a huge difference between kneading bread dough and playing play dough, ykwim? And getting out and playing soccer is good for me too.

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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I am ONE of the many people big and small, who play with my children. Play is bonding time and gives me a chance to enter their world. I consider it a privilege to be invited in. I know one day they won't have as much fun rolling down a hill with me or collaborating on a painting.

I even play tag sometimes when I am feeling tired and build legos when i'm not feeling particularly inspired or read Snow for the 100th time in a row... Just as my children come grocery shopping sometimes when they would rather not. Toddlers have precious few opportunities for control and directing a puppet show or a building block project seems like an opportunity they deserve and an easy experience for me to facilitate.

My almost 7yo likes to read to me and write books together and sometimes we just act silly and run around the house wearing capes. I wouldn't miss it for the world
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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Nope not at all, and I don't feel guilty at all. If DD1 needs helping setting up an activity then yes I'll help, or with a puzzle but I don't get down on the floor and play with them. We do quite a bit of stuff together, DD1 has always liked to help me around the house, she thinks that is fun. We also do have many "playdates" with friends, I don't feel that they are missing out on play time.

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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I am ONE of the many people big and small, who play with my children. Play is bonding time and gives me a chance to enter their world. I consider it a privilege to be invited in. I know one day they won't have as much fun rolling down a hill with me or collaborating on a painting.

I even play tag sometimes when I am feeling tired and build legos when i'm not feeling particularly inspired or read Snow for the 100th time in a row... Just as my children come grocery shopping sometimes when they would rather not. Toddlers have precious few opportunities for control and directing a puppet show or a building block project seems like an opportunity they deserve and an easy experience for me to facilitate.

My almost 7yo likes to read to me and write books together and sometimes we just act silly and run around the house wearing capes. I wouldn't miss it for the world
:

DS has a playmate twice a week, so when he's by himself sometimes heneeds me to get him started. Then I sneak off, and do what I want for a while.
I look forward to giving him a more permanent playmate.

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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I played a lot with my first when he was little. It was probably necessary, because he didn't have playmates around a lot of the time, but I think he became sort of addicted to it. Honestly, I wish he had had more older children around when he was little and less playtime with us. I feel this is more natural. I think my oldest developed a bossy streak, because he was so used to being in charge of our play. Now we only play with our children occasionally, but do spend lots of time together talking, doing housework, reading stories, doing projects, going to the park, etc.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:19 PM
 
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I'm not a playmate. I occasionally play with my daughter but it isn't a regular thing. She has lots of friends so she doesn't need a 40-year-old playmate particularly, and when I do play with her I am afraid I direct play a bit, and I don't think that's a good thing. I specifically try not to direct play but kids look to adults quite a bit and I think she plays differently, and maybe less creatively, when she plays with me.

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. It depends on the personality of the child and the parent. My husband plays with our daughter more than I do, for instance.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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I'm not there to be a playmate. I read lots of stories, involve them in the housework I'm doing, let them dress me up when they insist, get them started with toys/games/imaginary play, do puzzels, build block towers for knocking over, build marble runs, sing and dance with them, hide & seek, dress dolls, etc. But I don't play with them. Honestly I don't have the time in the day, and it's not enjoyable to be bossed around.
I'm confused -- aren't almost all of those things considered "playing"? I do all the stuff you described in your paragraph above, but I would answer the OP's question by saying that I *do* play with my DS. Maybe people have different definitions of playing -- mine certainly doesn't consist of being "bossed around" by DS.

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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I dont play with my kids. I read to them, I set them up with projects, I help them. I dont consider that playing, really. Or I guess I should say I occasionally play with them. I do play the occasional game of hide and seek or tea party or whatever but rarely. I dont think its necessary or normal to be entertained/played with all the time.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Some of the answers to this question are confusing me.

I do play with my boys, I try to take time at least in the evening to do so without distraction. Like last night I helped ds make 2 colors of playdough and I rolled little balls for him for at least an hour. That is what he wanted to do, so fine. Baby ds has a pretty short attention span, so play is different with him. He was only interested in the playdough a few minutes, then he was playing with Tupperware on his own.

I also played with them in the bathtub, squirting them with toys, etc. They also played without me in the tub for a while (I was in the room but on the phone).

Often we play blocks together - I get them out and we build towers together (my ds3 and I try to make big ones and baby ds knocks them down). We read together. Sometimes I only have a few minutes so I more like get them started with something and then they play with that or something else on their own.

I also do try to play with them while dressing them, changing them - we'll sing or I'll take a few minutes to show them a toy, etc.

I DON'T spend most of my day in play. But I do try to make things fun for them, and take some time that is specifically just play time each day. I WAH now, but when WOH FT, I did the same. I think that's where I got the spend some time every evening playing thing from. Made me feel better after being apart all day.

I say, do what works for you and your kids!

ETA: With dd8, she is less into playing, but I'll help her with a craft or something she can't do on her own. I also read to her or she reads to me. dd14 just likes to "hang out" or "shop" so our idea of play is the same

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Old 12-06-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm confused -- aren't almost all of those things considered "playing"? I do all the stuff you described in your paragraph above, but I would answer the OP's question by saying that I *do* play with my DS. Maybe people have different definitions of playing -- mine certainly doesn't consist of being "bossed around" by DS.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused by that.

So now "playing" = "getting bossed around"??? It also makes me a little : b/c it makes something so positive into a negative.

Plus, all the things described in that post ARE playing!!
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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Not really, no. Is that awful of me? i don't think so. I'm not there to be a playmate. I read lots of stories, involve them in the housework I'm doing, let them dress me up when they insist, get them started with toys/games/imaginary play, do puzzels, build block towers for knocking over, build marble runs, sing and dance with them, hide & seek, dress dolls, etc. But I don't play with them. Honestly I don't have the time in the day, and it's not enjoyable to be bossed around.

I love my kids. I think I am a kid person. But I go more the "kids living in a grown-up world" route. It makes more sense to me.
That's how I am. I play some, but we also do a lot of the kids helping me while I do my stuff. They love unloading the dishwashed, putting away groceries, peeling potatoes. They love to help me in almost everything.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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I think that though some of us might help doing puzzles, or play a game, or dance we don't see ourselves as being integral to the play process. We are facilitating. I'm not a playmate, I'm a teacher, a facilitator, a mediator, or a cheerleader or interested observer.

I'm not much for crafts, though my children have an entire craft centre at home that I stock and make sure is full of fun. Just not MY fun. I'll play games, but while I'm totally amused by my children (if they aren't doing that making it impossible to play thing) I am not captivated or integrated. I'm either understimulated or overstimulated by the entire event. Sometimes I'm both at the same time.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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I'm confused -- aren't almost all of those things considered "playing"? I do all the stuff you described in your paragraph above, but I would answer the OP's question by saying that I *do* play with my DS. Maybe people have different definitions of playing -- mine certainly doesn't consist of being "bossed around" by DS.
Yes, exactly. DS1 needs a lot of interaction - always has. It's hard to deal with sometimes, but I do play with him a lot, when he's not in nursery school. And I do let him direct the play (if it's gentle/safe) - playtime is his time to be able to control his world.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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nak-

Sorry my post was so confusing. I didn't mean it to be. Let me explain.

What I mean is I don't (usually) join in their play, but I do get them started, or suggest things for them to do. My kids are a little older, though (6 and 4), when they were very little I played with them more. The only thing I consider "play" out of my list would be the hide and seek, but only because I didn't give my version of it (I go hide behind the couch while I'm picking up peices of apple and cereal, for example.)

If they need help with something, I help, but rarely join the game. It's like "mommy I'm the princess. Talk at the princess." I say something, and then the princess runs off and does something else. When I'm home I'm working, and when we're out they have no interest in playing with me.

I guess you guys don't live with little-miss-bossy-pants, but I do. But even if she wasn't supreme rule maker, playing with a small child is either you leading, or them leading. "Put this on." "Eat these." "Make your guy shoot me, and then I'll block it and then I'll shoot you and you fall down and die." It's fine if the interrupt me, but I don't drop what I'm doing and build lego ships.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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Now you say this, you do that, put this on. NO NO Mommy - you said it wrong!

It works fine between them and their friends, but I end up feeling like a big doll. A big doll that doesn't work properly.
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Old 12-06-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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I end up feeling like a big doll. A big doll that doesn't work properly.

and it doesn't help my 4yo tells me that i'm one broken horse...

i cannot get on the floor and play a lot with my back problems..but we read, color, and i'll play cars or super heroes from time to time. BUT my boys have each other and more times than not I am told that i am playing wrong and to just go away. but we do go to the park and i'll run around with them and push them on the swings, but again they do LOVE to be on their own.

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Old 12-06-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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We (DH and I...well DH more than me) play with DS yes...but we don't consider ourselves his playmate.

The only time I play with DS is when I get home from work (6:30pm). Still in my work clothes, I will roll up my sleeves, get down on my knees and pick up a truck or a car and start rolling. I don't enjoy Kid's play at all but I grin and bear it for DS and I give him my full undivided attention for about 30 minutes.

On weekends, we don't play. Instead, we go to our local mall where they have a wonderful (and I mean wonderful) indoor playground where the Kids can play til their heart's content surrounded by an oval shaped sofa where the Parents can sit, relax and mingle.

It's always full of kids and I allow DS 2 hours of uninterrupted playtime. Afterwards, we go sit and have lunch together. To me, that's considered bonding time, so by the time we get home, if I see him playing by himself, I don't feel guilty that I'm not over there rolling a car or truck.

Every single night, we cuddle in bed and have story time (again, that's bonding) and I lay with him until he falls asleep.

So even though I'm not playing with him, he gets that connection from me in other ways. DH, a WAHD to DS, plays with him as much as his schedule will allow him throughout the day.
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Old 12-06-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I'm confused -- aren't almost all of those things considered "playing"? I do all the stuff you described in your paragraph above, but I would answer the OP's question by saying that I *do* play with my DS. Maybe people have different definitions of playing -- mine certainly doesn't consist of being "bossed around" by DS.

She said she "get them started" in those things.

I too went through a "bossy" stage with DS when playing with him. It's not a bad thing, just a stage that's all.
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