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When did kids stop learning to entertain themselves?

Cbarton12's picture

We went to a lake this afternoon and went fishing. But it's a really hot day so we came home and we were relaxing. 

Then SD comes in and about every other minute "what can I do?" "I wish I could do something". 

Go play with your toys? Draw? Read? 

All suggestions I made that she didn't respond to or do!

Of course now she's taken over the TV AGAIN to watch a really stupid show. 

On the brightside? She leaves to BM's tomorrow for 2 weeks!! 


MommyT's picture

Don’t let her watch tv. I have a bored jar so if the kids need something to do then they pick from the jar. Half of the items are chores and half are fun activities that are not screen time related. Eventually they get enough chores that they stop hounding me for things to do. To answer your question, it’s because we give them free rights to the tv.

sunshinex's picture

This is clever! I like the bored jar idea. 

SD is 7 and never complains about being bored or anything. We've never given her much screen time unless WE want a break LOL so she's always been used to playing in her room, colouring at the table, etc. Maybe she just hasn't hit the "i'm booooreeedd" phase yet, but so far, I don't see it happening. 

GirlfriendMom's picture

SO used to be Disney Daddy who made his entire world and all his time 110% her every second she was around but that has changes massively in the last 2 years. We just straight up give her all her options, tell her that we are not her entertainment, and go back to our bussiness. Do it enough times and they get the message. Limit TV as much as you can, though some days I understand letting them be because you get sick of it. 

Cover1W's picture

The SDs learned to not say the bored phrase with me around. Oh, well, if you need something to do you can clean your bathroom, mop the kitchen floor, weed the front yard, etc, etc. There was none of that when I grew up and none now.

Elisab's picture

my three children (now in their 20's) never got bored! we never had a computer and fancy TV with a million channels! the three step children have to be constantly entertained or they immediatley become bored! once they are bored they misbehave... I am trying very hard, to teach them and my partner ways to have fun without screen time, but it is hard when it has been used as a babysitting tool for so long! The worse time is the car, they will fight in the car unless they are doing something, it was most apprent when myself my own biologic daughter (then 18) and his three children went on holiday the other year...the long journey was hard as they want to fight when in close promintry of each other, to the point where my partner doesnt want to take long car journeys even 20 mins is too much if we are all in the car together! My daughter was baffled by it! she taught them loads of car games to entertain them which we still use now. It's amazing and scarey how ovr 10 years kids have become so relient on being entertained rather than finding their own entertainment, or just sitting quietly and looking at the world go by! I feel so lucky my children didn't have the whole social media problems when they were 10!

thinkthrice's picture

saw SD (then 8 ) and YSS (then 4) in action.  She whispered to me "Mom, were we THAT BAD?!"

And I whispered back "No, because I did not ALLOW it."

Chef was a TOTAL disney dad who didn't parent due to fear of the Girhippo who DEMANDED that Chef be their 24/7 circus clown and butler.

The GUBM loves the concept of disney dad spending all his time and attention entertaining skids as it leaves NO time for him to spend with SM or doing normal couple/household/real life things instead.

They also love keeping skids occupied with myriads of formally structured extra curriculars as that:

1.  ups CS to the max

2.  gives an excuse for the GUBM to be in biodad's vicinity at said activities AND

3.  takes up any one on one time to do real life things with dad and SM. 

A win-win-win for GUBM.

Further takes away the child's ability to self entertain.

tog redux's picture

This is where society has gone. When I was little, we went outside and played for hours with friends. We weren't even allowed back inside, lol, we drank water from the hose and every now and then, someone's mom would give us popsicles.  It never occurred to me to ask my mother to play with me.  My father would throw a ball with me, or play a board game when he got home from work, but that was a treat, not the norm.

Kids are the center of every family now. Everything is about them. They have 8 bazillion toys bought for them, and 14 different activities that parents schlep them around to.  Why would they not think they are entitled to non-stop entertainment from the adults? Also - nothing can compete with electronics for some kids. 

I have officially entered the "Get off my lawn" age.


STaround's picture

People are much more cautious about letting their kids run around the neighborhood and play.  I don't know if it is more dangerous now, but it does not matter, if there are not kids running around (and in most neighbohoods, they don't), you cannot send kids out to play.  Families were bigger then, and no one is sending a kid out by himself.   Stepkids are less likely to have friends in the nieghborhood if they are not there all the time.  

Many kids do organized activity and are not availaible.   This is not a movement by divorced moms, many kids where I live are in intact families and they participate.

I agree, hard to compete with electronics. OP notes the kid has taken over the TV.  I have to ask, does that mean there is one TV and OP wants to watch adult shows?  Maybe try to agree on a show all can watch, a nature show, etc?

Cbarton12's picture

Yeah we only have one TV lol. DH doesn't seem to agree with a TV in our bedroom. 

And yeah occasionally we will watch something we can only agree on but sometimes I just dont want to watch a kiddy movie. I wish she'd be content playing while we enjoy something too.