View Full Version : Entertain me...all. day. long.

01-14-2011, 04:18 PM
My kids (DS almost 8 and DS almost 7) seem to think that being homeschooled means they have someone to entertain them all day long. I don't know how many times I have told them that I am not here to plan their entire day out for them or figure out things for them to do. This does not mean I don't make myself available to them, I'm obviously here, but sometimes I think its so overboard it makes me nutty. We are very often doing and learning things together. But seriously, there comes a point...does anyone else struggle with this?

Its not that the kids aren't independent or can't be self sufficient. That's a very important thing to us. We want to raise kids who can survive out in the big bad world. So its not like we're at home constantly on them or doing everything for them. This is not a case of Mama-needs-to-step-back.

A few days ago I told the boys that I wanted to put more time into my writing (work) so I can get back into doing it for $$ (like I did before they were born). Waiting to do all my writing/research until after the house calms down for the night generally means that I am sleeping at the laptop before I get anything done. Anyway, I decided that it would help to have a time of day (one hour) to do my writing work. So a couple days ago I told them this, that 2-3 in the afternoon would be my writing time and they needed to entertain themselves. (Normally they would be off doing their own thing anyway, but I wanted them to know not to come running to me with every little thing during this time period, because I would be "working".)

You would have thought I told them I was packing my bags and moving out. They totally freaked out. "What are we supposed to do?" and "Its not fair!" and "Why can't you do that after we go to bed?" They were reacting like they are constantly at my side and we never do anything apart...which isn't the case at all. Is it just because I made an official "remove myself from the situation for an hour" declaration, or what?

01-14-2011, 05:00 PM
Oh yes, we have that too. It's not a homeschooling thing for us though, DS just really likes us. :)

Seriously, we are always together in the same room, all day long (well, not when my DH is at work, obviously). It's always been this way and right now I'm totally relishing this time together, but there are definitely times that it drives me a little crazy. DS doesn't really "play"--not like regular kids anyway. He'll go into his room and race his cars around once or twice (this happens maybe twice a week) and then like the Flash he's back at my side wanting to do something with me. Ours also, is NOT a case of mama needs to back off, it's just the way our family rolls (he's also quite independent in other ways--it's not at all that he needs us to reassure him or anything like that).

We're mostly busy with schoolwork in the mornings, but in the afternoons I need a little space, even if it's just to have a cup of coffee and come *here*. So I've implemented an afternoon elective--something concrete he can do independently for a bit. So far it's working out great. I think his biggest hurdle is that he just doesn't know what to do otherwise, he's very results oriented and not at all process oriented and the idea of puttering or playing for its own sake just doesn't resonate with his personality at all. But if I pull out a maze book or ask him to draw a picture out of his Ed Emberley learn to draw book (unfortunately he's lacking the same artistic skills I'm lacking) he'll actually immerse himself in that activity. He's also reading a LOT right now and will read for hours at a stretch if he has something interesting. I'm also not above letting him play wii or watch Discovery just so I can drink my coffee in peace.

I think it's great that you are taking a dedicated hour to yourself every day. There might be a transition period but I think it's important that kids know that mamas (and papas too!) need their private time too, whether it's for working or playing or knitting or just some deep breathing. That time is an opportunity for them too, but the challenge is to channel their energies into something independent and hopefully worthwhile.

Best of luck! :)

01-14-2011, 05:23 PM
OMG I can barely go to the bathroom without DS wanting to be in there with me! He doesn't like to play by himself, or even go to another room by himself. He's 5, and an only child, so those provide some explanation, but also he just likes being with people.

That lack of independence is killing me though, because some of our caretakers do not approve of homeschooling, and so I can't count on them to help me come September and hubby and I both work. I work from home, and have a lot of free time, but he won't even watch a program in the next room without company. I may have to send him to school just to have a babysitter...I HATE THAT.

01-14-2011, 06:26 PM
Mine often hear me say......"I am not your social director. If you really have nothing to do here is a dust rag." They manage to find something to do.

Stella M
01-14-2011, 06:35 PM
Don't worry, you're not alone :) In my experience, if I want to write, I just sit down and start. There is revolution at first, but then as my ds realises that I'm not responding, he gradually goes off to do his own thing. When I try to negotiate things first, I just get dragged into the never ending drama and nothing gets done.

I do make sure that ds isn't hungry or thirsty and that I've done something fun with him ( even a quick card game ) before I start. That's more to assauge my own guilt though.

Would your boys consider a quiet reading/Lego/audio book time from 2-3? It might take a while to get them into the habit though, and exhausting them first with physical exercise might be essential :)

It helps if you are able to tune out and write in the midst of family life as well. I often have my ds ( he's 7 btw ) playing in the same room I write in - obviously nothing too loud :)

If you allow TV/DVD's/computer games, could 2-3 be their time to watch or play ? If you don't, could there be another prized activity/toy that only comes out or is allowed when Mama is working ? it isn't bribery - it's external motivation!

Anyhow, it's worth persisting. Let us know how it goes!

01-14-2011, 07:01 PM
Mine are all really close in age and very much entertain each other. I am so glad that is one issue that I do NOT deal with. :p

01-14-2011, 07:13 PM
mine are 7 and 8 and I have the exact opposite problem! hmm, maybe after some lesson time when they've had enough of you then you can set a time, say 45 minutes that you need them to entertain themselves and then have together time again! That our invest in hundreds of dollars of legos . . .that seems to be what mine do when I am doing laundry (if not making messes!!!!)

01-14-2011, 08:20 PM
This is one of the quotes I live by as a parent:

"If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say: “Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!” you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights."
- Brenda Ueland

01-14-2011, 09:36 PM
Hurricane is an independent player and always has been. Tornado, on the other hand, is extremely dependent on others for his fulfillment. This creates problems when Tornado wants to play with Hurricane, who just wants to research exoplanets on Wikipedia in his room. But we're dealing with it by incorporating it into our daily activity chart (mentioned elsewhere for those who remember). So Hurricane gets rewarded with tickets (worth 5 cents each) for every 15 minutes he plays with Tornado, and Tornado gets the same for every 15 minutes he plays alone. Mostly it works. But even if it does, after that, Tornado's right up in our grills saying, "Let's go play pretend school!" So it only partly solves the problem. The way I see it is when we're old and gray, Hurricane will be the kid who lives far away and comes to visit us a couple times a year, but Tornado will be the one driving us to the doctor appointments and the grocery store. :)

01-14-2011, 10:20 PM
LOL Mark...true that one day that "kid in your face" will come in handy! :)

We have the same issues. Other people always comment on how independent and self-sufficient our kids are, yet they FREAK when I go out for a 30min jog or something (while Daddy's home...I don't leave them alone ;) ). DD7 is always hanging around expecting me to map out what she should do next. She does NOT play. Never has. Toys just sit on shelves for her. She has never had any interest in them.

I ditto the "tv" hour. That's what I do. But your kids might just come around and start being able to rely on themselves, since they're older. My 3yr old is the main problem, I use the tv to ensure she's going to sit put and not cause trouble ;)

01-16-2011, 03:34 PM
An hour of NickJr. or PBSkids gives them a 'treat' and me a break. I set the kitchen timer for an hour and when it goes off, they know that TV time is over and rarely whine about it.

The kids can entertain themselves for a while, though they interrupt every 3-4 minutes with a 'she pushed me!' or an 'I'm hungry!' and I have to shoo them away. I can get them to play alphabet Go Fish together, but rarely any other board game. They'll also sit together to play a computer game.

I'm home with the boy, 5, who obsesses over playing 'cars and trucks', which I've come to loathe. But usually, I can make him a deal to play cars for 15 minutes with him if he does this or that workbook, etc.

I'd love it if they would draw or read willingly on their own, but my daughter, 8, has a reading disability and hates to read, and though she likes crafts and arts, she often needs prodding and guidance to get started.

It's strange for me because I grew up very independent, entertaining myself with all sorts of creative play. Maybe I didn't give them enough opportunity to become independent when they were younger because I didn't want them to feel isolated like I did? Hmmmm...

01-16-2011, 05:34 PM
Ok, that is a great idea! :)

01-16-2011, 10:41 PM
I used to just reply "What would you like me to do, hire a clown?"

I do the same thing that another poster does... if you need something to do, I will give you something to do. It's usually cleaning baseboards, vent covers, washing down the front door or some other tedious job. Once they say " I'm bored" and I give them a job to do, there is no getting out of it. It really did not take long for them to realize I was serious, and now they occupy themselves. All I have to do is say "do you need me to give you something to do?" and they run out of the room yelling NOOOOOOO!!!