8 year old only daughter wants me to be her constant, 24/7 playdate - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am second-guessing our decision to have an only child, especially now that I've become a stay-at-home mom. There are not many children on our street our daughter's age, and it's difficult to set up play dates during the summer, as her friends are often busy or on vacation. She is very active and easily bored, and expects me to be her playdate. I can do it for short chunks of time, but she wants it all day long...it's exhausting. She has traveled to 3 different states this summer to visit cousins, so it's not as if we don't do fun things with her. Does anyone else have this issue with their only child, and if so, any suggestions?? Thank God school is starting soon!

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#2 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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I think boredom is good for kids. It forces them to open up their minds and figure out how to fill them time. I think it feeds creativity. My oldest was an only until she was 7, but we had a lot of kids in the neighborhood we were living at that age and she was outside running around with friends much of the summer. But she was pretty good at entertaining herself too, so long as I had plenty of art materials and a place where she could make a mess with them.

I don't think you should feel like you have to entertain her. If she's bored, she'd old enough to come up with something to do to keep her from being bored. But I have always found that having one outing a day helps too. The library, the museum, a park, the beach, whatever. We used to always go one place every Monday, another place every Tuesday, etc. My daughter would say, "Tomorrow is library day!" and think about what she was going to do at the library and what books she'd check out. It gave her something to look forward to and plan for.

And now I must thoroughly agree with your "Thank God school is starting soon!" statement. Kids like routine. Maybe that's why the daily outings helped so much.

Good luck and hopefully you'll get some more replies!
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#3 of 16 Old 07-29-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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Sorry, I don't have any help but am in the same boat except during tv/computer time. I can't do anything without interruption. It's hard enough as it is but with her constant neediness forget about it. Either she needs something to eat or wants to show something or has something to tell me or wants me to watch her do something like draw or do a craft or hula hoop. And of course if she's attending any programs then I have to drop off/pick up and they are short programs so that doesn't give me any time either.


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#4 of 16 Old 07-29-2013, 07:33 AM
 
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I have the same problem..Mine is going to be 6 soon...She is also  very active and wants me to continuously play with her...What I have done over the last few weeks is just flat out tell her No the tv isn't going on and No it isn't time for computer yet...Go find something to do..it was hard at first...She wanted to be attached like velcro and thought she had to go somewhere ALL the time...it took me putting her on her bed for a rest time to get her to do her own thing...it started with her sitting there and then she realized I ws busy and she grabbed books and barbies and played with them on the bed...Now she is actually setting up little tents and areas for her babies ect...it took some time and actually sending her off with a firm warning but now she is playing...She LOVES Starfall on the computer and gets angry because I won't let her play all day long..I let her have it for 1/2 hr in the morning and sometimes a 1/2 hr in the evenings...I take her to the park ect...But we live in a 2 floor walkup right smack in town and she can't just go outside by herself..Or I think that is where she would be most of the time...

 

So I guess my best advice it to just firmly tell her to go do something and act busy...Whether she will comply is totally up in the wind...lol  Some days are better here than others with the I am bored!!

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#5 of 16 Old 07-29-2013, 07:34 AM
 
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I used to but I started sending her to the neighbors house to play and they bounced back and forth while entertaining each other. We also have friends her friends over a lot, go to the library a lot, have a pass for the city pools, and I put her in a few day camps. I also sometimes do say no and allow her to be bored and figure it out.
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#6 of 16 Old 07-30-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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My DD is 9 and also an only. She's an extrovert, and would want to play with me all day long. So I think it is fairly normal. I do have to let her get bored. Sometimes I tell her if she cannot find something to do I will give her a chore. Usually she finds something to do, sometimes she picks a chore! But lately she has been coming up with things to do, especially reading.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-30-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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this thread is kind of making me nervous about having an only child! My ds is only three right now and still needs my and dh's attention constantly-- but we keep telling ourselves it will ease up when he is older, in school, has more friends his age, etcetera. But this thread is pointing out to me that even older children who are onlies want their parents constant attention too-!!! I wonder if it is much easier in this respect if you have more than one kid? I am still on the fence if I could handle another- I don't have a strong pull to have any more kids, just a dull subtle possibility of it that rears up more sometimes---- but it would be precisely for this type of reason if I did decide to have another- essentially for ds's benefit (and I guess for me and dh's if it would really mean that ds would have an at home play friend and notneed constant attention). I know this is kind of veering off topic but it is helpful for me to have a bunch of parents of onlies older than mine to bounce this idea off of----there are many reasons I want to keep ds an only (financial, having time to rest and time to spend with dh, having more energy to give to everyone and to myself, being 40 years old already and not so eager to go through it all again, the fact that there are too many people on the planet and times are so uncertain etc) but I don't like to think I will be shor changing ds a bettr life by keeping him an only?  what do you all think? Do any of you wish at times like this that you had a second child because they would play with your other child and keep eachother happier? r do you find that your only child just  finds more ways to play alone? any advice on this? (not to derail but to add to the discussion!)

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#8 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

this thread is kind of making me nervous about having an only child! My ds is only three right now and still needs my and dh's attention constantly-- but we keep telling ourselves it will ease up when he is older, in school, has more friends his age, etcetera. But this thread is pointing out to me that even older children who are onlies want their parents constant attention too-!!! I wonder if it is much easier in this respect if you have more than one kid? I am still on the fence if I could handle another- I don't have a strong pull to have any more kids, just a dull subtle possibility of it that rears up more sometimes---- but it would be precisely for this type of reason if I did decide to have another- essentially for ds's benefit (and I guess for me and dh's if it would really mean that ds would have an at home play friend and notneed constant attention). I know this is kind of veering off topic but it is helpful for me to have a bunch of parents of onlies older than mine to bounce this idea off of----there are many reasons I want to keep ds an only (financial, having time to rest and time to spend with dh, having more energy to give to everyone and to myself, being 40 years old already and not so eager to go through it all again, the fact that there are too many people on the planet and times are so uncertain etc) but I don't like to think I will be shor changing ds a bettr life by keeping him an only?  what do you all think? Do any of you wish at times like this that you had a second child because they would play with your other child and keep eachother happier? r do you find that your only child just  finds more ways to play alone? any advice on this? (not to derail but to add to the discussion!)

I am always nervous not for myself but for dd. Maybe we (you or I) could create an only child support thread. Maybe some moms from this thread might want to join in there... I am not sure under what category it would go though. Maybe Childhood Years?


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#9 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 05:52 AM
 
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There are a couple of parents of onlies threads on mdc but they don't get too much discussion

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#10 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 07:43 AM
 
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I'm an only and I think has more to do with personality than being an only. I have two children, the older is fairly introverted and the younger is very extroverted. I'm extroverted but not as strongly as my youngest. I face similar challenges with her - she is on my heels alot of time. She is talking, singing, touching me, etc. Yes, I do get some relief when she plays with her brother but she maxes him out easily. I think being the opposite personality (ex extrovert parent to introvert child or introvert parent to extrovert child) compounds the problem.

 

I also want to say I think being an only is a great thing and I never wished for a sibling. I don't feel I have been disadvantaged in any way by not having a sibling. As I am older my only concern is about my aging parents and if I will be able to care for them 'by myself'. I would be nice to have a sibling to share this responsibility. Still this is not a horrible thing, I have other loving people in my life. Its just a concern that I have that I see directly related to being an only.

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#11 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 10:37 AM
 
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Thanks Pbjmama that addresses a lot of my questions1 I think many parents of onlies fantasize that having a second or more kid would relieve some of the work of parenting in the way that it woud occupy the first, but it is true that it really depends on the kids and could even make it harder.

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#12 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 11:54 AM
 
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I am not an only nor do I have an only. I am very familiar with the dynamics of it though, most of DD1's best friends do not have siblings along with several of my good friends only having one child.

 

I have 4 kids. My first two are just shy of four years apart, the rest are closely spaced. They still demand my constant attention, it doesn't matter where they fall in the order. The oldest is 10, the youngest 2. They will just scream or yell over the other ones to get it. For the record, I do not have children who seem to amuse themselves nor like their siblings, we have a lot of personality conflicts between them to the point of safety being an issue at times. So yeah, I'm going to say it is all about personality! My life was much easier when I just had DD1 because at least then she couldn't fight with just herself.


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#13 of 16 Old 07-31-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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I agree that it's about personality.  I was kind of like your kid - I was an only and remember following my mom around bugging her.  I think she dealt with it by letting me watch as much tv as I wanted and I also liked to read, so I was out of her hair for that time :)  My only plays independently really well once she gets started.  Sometimes I have to get her started by playing with her for a couple of minutes, but then I conveniently have to change the laundry and she doesn't notice when I don't return.  Maybe you could try playing for a few minutes and then finding a task?


-Marisa, ecstatic mommy to amazing DD Sidonie, 2/07 :
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#14 of 16 Old 08-01-2013, 12:02 PM
 
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Thanks Peony, your post gave me a different persepctive. I'd have loved to have had one more but for various reasons including financial couldn't but if they'd grow up to hate each other then that would be even worse. I know of siblings that either don't have any relationship or hate each other and for some reason I never thought about that. I always pictured siblings that would support each other no matter what.


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#15 of 16 Old 08-01-2013, 01:17 PM
 
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I'm glad my perspective was appreciated Neera. I hesitate sometimes to add my thoughts to threads. I didn't go into having 4 kids thinking they would all be friends and play together. I dislike my own sister and our childhood was nonstop vicious fighting, we minimally speak as adults . DH and his brother are widely spaced apart and they haven't spoken in many years. I knew this was a possibility but honestly I was still blinded by just how difficult it is to live as the parent when your children don't like each other.

 

DH and I spilt up the kids usually. Family time is minimal because some sets of children truly can not function together. One child is on the autism spectrum and will probably remain with us for the rest of his life which adds an entirely different dynamic, do you then ask the siblings to help care for their disabled brother? Parents of one child worry about their child having to care for them when it is only one child. I worry about World War 3 erupting with my kids. It is just apples and oranges. Different worries and concerns but all very valid concerns. Sometimes we always think the grass is greener on the other side! I daydream sometimes about life with just DD1 and the fun things that we did back with one child, but that's because I have a different perceptive now and our life is different. it doesn't mean my life was easy back then either! Just as your's isn't now.  

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#16 of 16 Old 08-01-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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hmmm. so here are my opinions on this issue. cold.gif mind you i have an only and i have faced the same situation too.

 

i think we all see our children through our own experiences in childhood. even 20 years ago childhood was soooo different. 

 

boredom CAN be a good thing. but it can also be a symptom.

 

personalities matter a lot but yet we are still a social animal.

 

all children want some kind of interaction - either a little or a lot. dd's bf is an onlie. he loves being an onlie. he is not an extrovert. he'd rather play at home with children he likes. like my dd. he still wants interaction with the right kind of child. 

 

i have seen this with my own child. 

 

today boredom is not what we think of boredom. the definition of boredom has changed. children are bored because they have no access to fun things. i think today kids have every right to be bored and no it is not a good thing ignoring this feeling. it leads to depression later on in life. of course not all kids but the majority of it. 

 

when we were young we did a lot of things on our own. we had kids to interact with but we were much more free range than my dd is today. or any of our elementary age kids. 

 

i think when our kids complain of boredom we have to take a good look at what we are providing our children. boredom is more about us, not them. are we providing them enough things to do? do they have choices? a variety of activities. boredom is a hard place to be as a parent. it was boredom that made me give up my fear and hand dd a knife at 5 or 6 and have her make dinner. that was the way she discovered one of her passions - cooking. 

 

i think summers are hard on our kids. esp. school age kids. to go from structure and a bunch of kids to nothing. even more nothing if there ARE kids around your neighborhood but you dont get along with them. its even worse being lonely in the middle of a crowd. 

 

seriously friendships dont really happen till 5th grade or so. i mean real friendships in the adult way. kids try to be friends and figure out relationships but i dont see them settling down till they turn 10. or should i say be able to iron out the kinks around 10 or so. from birth to about 10 i was my onlie's primary playmate. i had to be coz i would not let her do things she wanted to do - things that i did when i was her age. it just wasnt appropriate to allow that to happen today. 

 

for my family - boredom meant giving dd more chores to do, chores which she would enjoy. she started doing laundry - but hated folding so i'd fold and she'd put them away. today at almost 11 it meant i had to give dd free range to explore a new city we were visiting using public transportation and eating out on her own. she followed every boundary i gave her to a T and enjoyed her private time. she visited libraries, windowshopped in the downtown area, browsed book stores, went to a movie by herself and ate out alone at restaurants. she discovered what she felt comfortable about. she discovered things she was scared of werent really scary at all. she discovered weird people she stayed away from and wonderful people who helped her figure out when she needed help. was it easy for me? no. but i know my dd and i knew what she could do. i was scared to let her go, but i also knew she would be ok. one main factor also was that dd looks older than her age. most people thought she was in high school (dd was sooo kicked about that). the result dd has grown in leaps and bounds in a very subtle way - but the change in her is HUUUUGE!! would she be this person if i didnt let her go alone. i dont really know the answer but my gut tells me otherwise. she starts middle school in a couple of weeks without any friends and most of her fears that she had before she is not afraid of anymore. 

 

last year dd was rarely bored. why? because at the place where we lived she had some close friends. they were bored together and then together figured out what to do. 

 

and before that during summer since i had that option, i'd have lots and lots of sleepovers and watch kids of my working friends because i had that option to. 

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