I don't think I should have to entertain my kids - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 20 Old 03-10-2009, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any time my kids get bored, they start fighting. It makes me crazy, because it will go on and on, with lots of shrieking and screaming and tears, and almost always involves one of them running to me to try to protect them from the other one. (Nothing serious is actually happening - this seems to be part of the very annoying "game" they are playing to entertain themselves.)

It really makes me crazy. We have a big backyard and a house full of toys. I really don't think that it's my job to have to stop what I'm doing to entertain an almost 8yo and an almost 5yo to keep them from fighting.

Do you step in when your kids are bored? Am I missing something? Or is this just something I have to deal with?
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#2 of 20 Old 03-10-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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I do not entertain my kids, but I will put them to work if it seems like they need me to form some space for them. By putting them to work I mean including them in whatever work I am doing.

Personally, I do think I should HAVE to entertain my kids either, but I think they sometimes need me to bump the needle. My kids play the same "game" you described, and I try to think of it as a really annoying request for help or attention from me. Mostly, if I give the attention in a positive way, things get back into a good groove. (Oh, how I love metaphors!)
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#3 of 20 Old 03-10-2009, 09:47 PM
 
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Yep, I step in. It drives me nuts when they fight. But I don't always play with them. Often I just redirect with ideas of something else to do. We're beginning to homeschool/unschool so one of them expressing boredom gives me a perfect opportunity to suggest something a little more on the educational side of things!

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#4 of 20 Old 03-10-2009, 10:28 PM
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I don't entertain here either. I'll set up games and projects but then they get to get on with it without me.
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#5 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 03:04 AM
 
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I don't entertain here either. I'll set up games and projects but then they get to get on with it without me.
:

My kids know better than to act like they're bored around me. I assure you, there is always something to be cleaned if you're bored!

I do play with my kids sometimes, of course, but it's not my job to be their personal entertainment system.

Tanya ~~ mother to: Beth, 12 -- Cali & Trent, 9 -- Melanie, 8 -- Jesse & Davin, 5 -- Baby Shae 9/1/2009
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#6 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 09:11 AM
 
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"You can help me with this or you can go off and play" was a line I heard a lot around my house growing up. I think I'll use it.
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#7 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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I agree w/giving them "something" to do- like cleaning or a game. I also separate them to different areas of the house if it continues and they have too hard of a time getting along. Rooms w/books, drawing supplies, sometimes a movie or just individual quiet play but NOT together. IMO Kids sometimes just need a break from each other. Like I need my space sometimes.
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#8 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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I don't entertain. Dd can help me with what I'm doing, or she can come up with something to do. She has plenty of options around here. She doesn't seem to have any trouble amusing herself at this point. She does tell me she's bored sometimes and I suggest a few things she might like to do. I take saying she's bored as asking for ideas of stuff to do, not asking me to entertain her.
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#9 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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I set limits such as "You can't use your outside voices/run around like that in the house. You have two choices: move the game outside, or choose a quieter game." If they're having fun with a "pretend fight" I won't necessarily stop them from doing it. Sometimes I'll step in just to make sure they're both actually having fun (and there isn't an actual aggressor and victim), but if they're both consenting I'll step back out and let them play.

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#10 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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I have a 7yo and a 5yo and they do fight when they get board, and I do step in. I'm busy and certainly don't have time to entertain them, but at the same time it is my responsibility to keep them occupied and stimulated when they can't do it themselves. Like other posters, I'll suggest a few different activities and some of those will be "chore" type things. But honestly, I think it's a bit much to expect children to be able to think of something stimulating/enriching/fun all of the time; sometimes they just need help remembering all the great things there are to do.
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#11 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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I agree w/giving them "something" to do- like cleaning or a game. I also separate them to different areas of the house if it continues and they have too hard of a time getting along. Rooms w/books, drawing supplies, sometimes a movie or just individual quiet play but NOT together. IMO Kids sometimes just need a break from each other. Like I need my space sometimes.
This is what works for us. My kids are in the early stages of learning to play together with minimal supervision (I'm in the next room). But, I find that the escalating conflict routine is their way of saying enough is just about enough. I get one started on something in one area, and the other started on something somewhere else. When they come together again, things are much better.

My oldest really loves to be put to work. When all else fails, I get them both in the kitchen on chairs to help me cook/bake. No wonder I can't loose the baby weight.

~ Lemur , mum to Mr. Fishy (5, ASD) and Froggy (3) ~
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#12 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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They may play nicely or they can sit and be bored where I can see them or I can put them to work. those are their choices. with consistancy they realized that playing nicely was more fun that sitting within arms reach of mom while she was working.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#13 of 20 Old 03-11-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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I can tell you want to be a good mother. This is a good place to get a variety of suggestions. My children are now grown and I have a grandson. My oldest two were 3.5 years apart and then my next son was 5 years later. I was a single mom and we homeschooled.

I'm offering some thoughts that may or may not help in your situation. Please take what may help and leave the rest.

Children are put in same age groups from a young age. They may spend most of their waking day being supervised & being told what to do every minute in groups of children that are about their same age and ability. I'm assuming your children go to school/preschool.

Then at home children get lots of mixed messages from their mothers, fathers, and other people in their lives about what to do and how to behave. They don't know what to do with or how to behave towards a child that isn't their same age and skill level, in a less supervised situation, without planned activities. Older children may even think they are supposed to hit younger children.

It's frustrating for you when they fight and you don't know what to do, and you are the grown up. Yet the 8 year old is the big sister and is expected to play with the 4 almost 5 year old.

Your kids are the most important job you will ever have and you can't count on toys to take care of your kids. Entertain! Every chance you get! Once they get older they may not pay attention:

Suggestions -

Involve them in what you are doing. If you are cooking have them nearby watching, helping, or playing. If they are outside be out there with them. In Indiana it is illegal for a child under 12 to play outside even in your own yard without being supervised (I lived in a city that enforced this).
Play with them.
Plan things for them to do - my kids loved puzzles.
Worn out children may behave better (or worse). A trip to the park may help.
Read the book Siblings Without Rivalry.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#14 of 20 Old 03-12-2009, 08:40 AM
 
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Any time my kids get bored, they start fighting. It makes me crazy, because it will go on and on, with lots of shrieking and screaming and tears, and almost always involves one of them running to me to try to protect them from the other one. It really makes me crazy. We have a big backyard and a house full of toys. I really don't think that it's my job to have to stop what I'm doing to entertain an almost 8yo and an almost 5yo to keep them from fighting.
Do you step in when your kids are bored? Am I missing something? Or is this just something I have to deal with?
My kids are still younger, but same scenario here. Over and over again. As soon as they get to say 'hi' to one another in the morning, it seems. I do not think the fighting in our home stms fro them being bored. That would mean they are bored all the time which is likely impossible . The chance of them fighting least is during screen time, but even then (well then, actually when the 3y old, with shorter attention span, may get bored) the may start kicking each other and looking each other up on the couch. They just seem to be fighting 70-80 percent of the time that they are in the same room. As soon as we pick up DS1 from pre-school, even before we hit the front door (a 2 minute walk!!) they start a fight. Every single time. It came to the point where I feel reluctant to bring my 3y old for the pick up because he often resists much in coming along too, and then the immediate hassle of the two of them attacking each other.

Sometimes I wonder if it is that I should engage more with them, together and/or indiviadually. But whenever I put special effort in that, like yesterday, it seems to turn out even WORSE!! So I really do not know what to do aboutit. They are SO SO high energy when together. A neighbour had them over for not even 30 min last week and she brought home the youngest, crying, and the other one after 1h only. When her daughter (also high energy)is over at our place, it last for 3h sometimes and it is just TOTAL chaos, and I can't achieve anything becauser I need to be constantly vigilant.
I2m not trying to control everything, on the contrary, but it draines me so so much. It seems that whatever I do, they are the same everfighting kids again, they actually do get hurt (scratching in face, biting, real hair pulling, kicking hard) so it doesn't seem that 'letting them' is a solution to opt for and on theother hand, it feels that there is no choice other than that.

In the playground, I have to stay around them, while I see other parents sit on a bench and relax. At least they do enjoy me engaging in their outdoor play.

Me:,loving HB,two active sons of 3 & 5,1 cat, nature lover,,extbf,occ,SAHM, multicultural/lingual family,+/-cl, :become a better parent/person by not expecting to be the perfect parent/person
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#15 of 20 Old 03-12-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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I do not feel that it is my job, as a parent, to entertain my children. By entertain, I mean provide something fun to do at every moment. When things get out ofhand at our house, i try to diffuse the situation by separating the kids and putting on fun music or something, but I won't sit down and play with them if I am doing something. This is one case where I feel strongly about self-reliance and learning to make decisions for themselves.

The only time they really drive me nuts though is the running in the house. We have a bunch of kids in a tiny house and the running just drives me nuts. They can run outside or in the basement, and they know that rule. They don't always follow that rule, but they do know it. :

Of course, I don't expect my 19 month old and 6 month old to entertain themselves.
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#16 of 20 Old 03-12-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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HI there, you might find this thread an interesting read. It really helped me!

https://www.mothering.com/discussions...891&highlight=


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#17 of 20 Old 03-13-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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#18 of 20 Old 03-13-2009, 02:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PatchChild View Post
"You can help me with this or you can go off and play" was a line I heard a lot around my house growing up. I think I'll use it.
Yep, there is nothing like dishing out chores to suddenly make sibs cooperate on a game or something.
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#19 of 20 Old 03-13-2009, 05:52 AM
 
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Yep, there is nothing like dishing out chores to suddenly make sibs cooperate on a game or something.
Hmmm but I think it is much more clever to make chores something less than just chores and instead something to enjoy doing. More chance that they will eventually particiape in chores willingly, or actually take the initiative when they're older.

I was so proud of my 5y old the past two days when he spontaneously started to wipe the table and chairs (eand anything he could find within reach to get wiped), he likes to help with laundry and putting stuff away. My 3y old loves to vacuum clean, especially with the handsize one, he would almost make a mess to be able to vaccuum it up :-). He loves participating in baking, cooking, dishes, laundry, sometimes to the extent where I must keep myself from being irritated by it :-). They enjoy bringing our garbage to the collecting point.

Ok, they do not like every single on of it, and not every single time, but it's the general idea that tasks arround the house shouldn't be less fun than anything else, or could be made fun (with dancing, singing, joking, talking involved).

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#20 of 20 Old 03-13-2009, 06:21 AM
 
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Do you step in when your kids are bored? Am I missing something? Or is this just something I have to deal with?
I think you got their ages wrong--didn't you mean to say they were 9 and 5?

Yeah, there is no avoiding them when they are really bored and put out. Suggesting they help me clean or do chores gets met with anger and disbelief. Drawing? No. Play a game with your sister? No. Go outside? No. Watch tv? No. Play on the computer? No. Read a book? No. Clean your room? Mama, come on, that is boring! I'm bored, what can I do. It usually escalates until I'm unpleasant enough that they realize nothing good is going to happen (they want to go somewhere fun, spend money, buy toys, food, see a movie, etc.).

What drives me crazy even more is the screaming from my husband. Today they were actually playing, running around in the house and yelling. I don't care, honestly. They are playing and not bothering me, doesn't he see how wonderful this is? Nope, instead he starts yelling at them to shut up and go into the basement. I was trying to get them to come outside on a walk with me, but the 5 year old still doesn't wear clothes half the time, and she had to get dressed, and they had to run and yell in between all that.

Oh, and then today my 9 year old played a fun game with me. It was called the Mamaaaaaaaaaa, she hit me. I must have gotten a look on my face, because she laughed and said, "No, I'm just kidding." Bah! When they are fighting, I'm tempted to tell them to come to me only once a knock out has been scored.

My 5 year old told me she was playing a game in her preschool class where she holds up her hand to do a stretching exercise and also to fool the teacher. The teacher told her that she didn't want to play that game anymore.
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