Author Topic: How much do you play with your kids?  (Read 5601 times)

Offline IowaDove

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How much do you play with your kids?
« on: June 09, 2011, 12:07:50 PM »
Sorry if this is posted somewhere else, but I couldn't find it anywhere.
My question is, how much should you play with your kids and how long should they be expected to play by themselves? My kids are 3 1/2 and 17 months. I play with them a lot and we're always doing things together, but there are times when I just would like for them to go play by themselves for a while. But then I feel guilty like I'm ignoring them or neglecting them. I read somewhere that you shouldn't play with your kids and that that is their job to play and it's your job to parent. That just doesn't set well with me and I enjoy playing with them, but I also have this mindset for whatever reason that you should be entertaining your kids all the time and I don't think that's right either. So what should my expectations be? What do you all do with your children? Thank you for any advice  :)

Offline steadygirl

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Re: How much do you play with your kids?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 12:24:46 PM »
I don't play much with my kids. If I play with them a lot they are ALWAYS wanting me to keep them entertained! I also found they seemed push the line as far as respect goes. Not sure if they get the line between parent and child mixed up or what! I do try to do some fun things with them sometimes. We still bake cookies, have the occasional tickle time, play in the pool, games, rides in the wagon, etc., just not large amounts of my time are spent actually playing with them.  :D We do spend lots of time together with them helping me with things, too.

Offline Precious

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Re: How much do you play with your kids?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 01:36:14 PM »
Well, you asked for advice (very dangerous! ;D) so here goes...

It depends on your parenting goals.  If you want to encourage your children to be confident and independent then they need to play on their own quite a bit.  It is a delicate balance that requires constant re-adjustments.

Here's the best advice that was given to me:  Stop focusing on your role as a mother and focus on being a wife.  Don't have a intimate relationship with your children, have it with your spouse!  My favorite child psychologist says, “If you think parenting is the hardest thing you've ever done, you're not paying enough attention to your marriage.”  In fact, most of the thoughts I have on this subject are heavily influenced by John Rosemond (LOVE him!).

Children will flourish if their parents have a healthy relationship.  We have to be leaders, adults, authority figures in order for our children to aspire to adulthood.

These are Rosemond's stages of development:  Season 1 is from birth until age 2 and is known as the “season of service.” The child is at the center and parents orbits around him.  Mom is the primary servant/micro manager and Dad is the parenting aid (to assist and give breaks).  The child concludes, “I own her.” Season 2 is ages 3-10 and is defined as the “discipling of the child.” The parents rise out of servitude into authority and put the child out of the center.  The child now needs to pay attention to Mom.  Parents role is to keep the child from hurting himself, instill security, develop character, respect, and paying attention to others.  By age 3, the child has made one of two conclusions: “My job is to pay attention to Mom, “ or “Mom's job is to pay attention to me.”  Season 3 is “mentoring the child” and is ushered in by several rites of passage around ages 12-13.  Parents' role is to help the child with practical skills needed for emancipation.

The breakdown usually happens between ages 2 and 3.  Moms get frozen in Season 1 and so does the child.  Mom is stuck in servitude and Dad is stuck as an aid.  Mom needs to significantly lower her level of doing in her child's life (disengage), begin building a boundary between herself and her child, and turn back to her husband.  The marital bed is boundary #1—the child is not a member of the wedding.  This demonstrates that the marriage relationship is what anchors and defines the family.

I realize that this advice seems “harsh” in today's culture of child rearing.  But this is what I've seen work.  The big lie is that parenting produces the child—pay more attention to your child.   Children in the 1950s may not have known their ABCs going into 1st grade, but they knew how to pay attention to women!  You cannot disciple a child who is not paying attention to you.  We need to act from the heart when it comes to our children and stop thinking so much.  We have claimed authority in politics, professions, church, etc. but have been stripped of our authority as mothers.  Today's moms don't know who to punish when their child misbehaves.  She makes herself feel guilty.  Just keep doing the right thing and realize it's not all up to you—pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance and intervention!

Personally, I have 3 children (ages 7, 5, and 2) and no television.  I will pause occasionally to read a book, take my 2-year old to the potty, or dance to some music, but they mostly play by themselves quite well.  I do not intervene unless someone is crying loudly or there is blood.  I have taught them to work out their differences with words, although they sometimes need assistance with this.  I also prefer to say I am a housewife and not a SAHM.  I think “housewife” more clearly reflects my priorities.

Someone on another thread gave this great advice: “If you need to then set a couple of specific times each day when you will just play for 15mins.  So mabye at 9am, 1pm and 4pm for example.  Go and join in with what your child is doing or ask them what they would like top play or invent a new game with them.  For those 15mins you are their playmate - no cleaning, no fussing over housework, no computer, no talking on the phone, etc.
You can do the same for reading time too.
The other thing is to make some of your housework the 'play' that you are doing with your child. “

Sorry if this is TMI.  I am very passionate about this subject. :)

Offline mamato5

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Re: How much do you play with your kids?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 01:14:25 PM »
I completely agree Precious!!!!
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Offline hgreening

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Re: How much do you play with your kids?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 10:43:31 AM »
Wow, that brought tears to my eyes. I see so many things I've done wrong and so many things I've done right too. I am not a big "player" with my kiddos. But I've been inconsistent out of guilt and I can see how my oldest two think they still "own me." I'm the kind of mom who likes to have the kids help me around the house; make cookies, work in the garden or take care of the animals together. We homeschool so I'm constantly doing projects with them. I'm pretty worn out after that and rarely feel like open ended play. In the evenings or weekends I like to sit outside and watch them play but I don't really want to join in. I've always felt guilty and go between feeling like I should play and like all I want to do is watch them and have a nice conversation with my hubby. After reading this post I realize that that's exactly what I should be doing!! DH and I NEED to connect at the end of the day. The kids are perfectly capable of using the brains that God gave them to go play and make up games on their own. Heck, I don't remember anyone ever really playing with me! And I am an only child! My parents were my parents. They loved me and took me places and listened to me when I talked but pretty much never came in and played dolls or blocks or whatever. I look back on my childhood with much fondness. I knew I was loved and didn't need my parents to be my friend in order to prove it.

I can't wait to share this with my husband!

Offline IowaDove

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Re: How much do you play with your kids?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 01:25:20 PM »
Thanks so much for all the advice! I'd never heard of John Rosemond, I will have to look into him!
My husband and I have a fantastic relationship and when he's home, we definitely have our time while the kids play. I also like to do things with the kids-cook, clean, projects, ect, but now I feel better about just having them play by themselves.
I definitely have some things to work on! Please keep the advice coming  :)