Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Job?

Here's the pressing question that is on my mind today. Is it my job to keep my children entertained? I want to say the answer is 'No', but my children seem to think otherwise. Then I have to ask myself, 'Have I led them to believe that when they are bored they can count on mom to find something for them to do?'.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's important to take time out of the day to play games with them, read stories, or play outside. But shouldn't they also be capable of doing these things amongst themselves?

It's especially frustrating to me when I consider how MANY toys, games, books, etc. etc. my children have. And they are STILL bored! Obviously the answer is not more STUFF.

If I am not able to play with them then they ask if they can watch TV or play on the computer. I do allow some tv & computer time during the day, but I'm trying to limit how much. My boys would happily sit and veg out in front of the tv or computer for HOURS if I let them.

Usually what happens next (when I say no to tv or computer) is that they follow me wherever I may be and lay on the floor or drape themselves across a chair moaning about how bored they are and 'What can they DO?'. I often make suggestions, going through a checklist of their many toys & activities. This is met with more groans and declarations that it's all so BORING.

This makes me want to march upstairs and gather up all that boring stuff and get rid of it! I've even threatened to do exactly that. Of course this is met with horror. How could I get rid of their things?!

All I know is that when my sister closest in age (I have another sister 12 years younger than me) & I were young we entertained ourselves. I don't remember relying on our mother to keep us from being bored. And, if we did complain about boredom, she probably sent us outside.

Believe me, I try this tactic with my boys as well. But, they always want me to come outside with them. Sometimes I do and sometimes I can't. I still have the baby to care for, laundry to do, meals to prepare, etc.

So, please, if anyone out there has any suggestions or words of wisdom, please pass them on to me. I want my boys to use their imaginations, get creative, and entertain themselves. It would be one less job for me.


  1. our youngest at four is ALWAYS asking for my undivided attention right now while his brothers are at school. I keep reminding myself that next year he will be in preschool and I will go crazy for missing all my boys! I always send my boys outside. ALWAYS. Currently I have sick kids and they are watching tv, but in the winter I try to make sure that they watch no tv when they get home from school (honestly, with homework, we have enough to do!) S4 watches his favorite shows every day in the morning. I HAVE boxed up ALL their toys. Really. It was awful. I blogged about it! :) You cannot go wrong with a sand box and the tonka stuff to play in it (you can get a lot of toys from a garage sale, but invest in those big heavy duty tonka trucks, the size that your yournger boys can ride in bed of). Buying toys for the sand box at a garage sale saves money, but it also leads to toys breaking fast and a junky looking yard...prepare to purge broken toys OFTEN. The boys also build forts. TONS of forts. And I had to be the one to show them how at first. Then they just took off. Inside, matchbox cars, wooden blocks, train tracks and legos are their favorites. I seriously believe we could rid ourselves of all else an they would be happy with just that.
    So that is my two cents worth. It might help a little, but keep in mind, every family and every child is TOTALLY differant. You will figure it out in time!

  2. Karen, It's so nice to see where you "live":-). I can totally relate to this post. When my kids get whiny at me or when they are fighting and can't work it out (even with a little help from me), I say "To couches with books!" I set them each on a different couch (you might need to find other spots unless you have four couches:-)). They each have to sit with a pile of books and read/look at pictures until the timer goes off. Depending on their offenses, the time may vary:-). It's pure bliss to have peace and quiet at that point. For them, too, I think. Sometimes kids need their reset button pressed and this works for my kids. When they're done their time, they either keep reading (bonus!) or start playing more nicely because if they don't, they know they are back on couches! (This is not time out at our house. That is reserved for more severe offenses). Just an idea. Happy momming to four boys!!


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