Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kids These Days

I swear I wasn't like my own kids -- I don't know what it is, that they've been raised in a different generation with Dora and Email or what . . . but when I was younger when us kids were bored we'd go ask our mom what to do. She'd say, "Go stand on your head and stack BBs". That would make us mad but we'd just go and find something to do ourselves.

But seriously (and the 6-year-old is the hardest at this) we have a toy room full of toys (cars, trucks, planes, blocks, dolls, etc.), games (puzzles, cards, trouble, twister, the Wii, etc.), and outside stuff (swings, bikes, play house, chalk, slides, etc.) -- (I mean I'm pretty sure we have more toys than I had as a kid and we had 6 kids in the house!) and they freaking still stare at me like I'm their hired entertainer. And when I tell them to go play or find something to do it lasts 60 seconds and then they are right back at my side begging me to do some stuff -- not that I'm a week behind on cleaning or anything. It's amazing that kids don't think parents have anything to do. And I'm not sure if I thought that when I was a kid.

So finally I decide, "Yeah, let's get something special and do it together . . . " I went and bought a bunch of fun bubble blowers and bubbles. I even stay out there with them. Phone rings and I run inside, a few minutes later I come out and all the bubbles were dumped out and the rest of it they ruined or lost. So I get this stuff I would have loved to have as a kid and it just gets trashed and they don't even enjoy it. Like I have play dough -- I stay in the room with them. When I played playdough as a kid there was clay and other random stuff then we just used our imaginations and did lots of stuff with it. My kids and nieces mash all the colors together throw them on the floor (well not always, Ellie's pretty good about clay) - and if I ask them to make something from their imagination they stare at me like an alien; either that or they say, "I can't do it! You need to make it for me!!" But they won't learn to be creative unless forced to be so I try to force them and they refuse. What is a parent to do?

So yeah, there's my little rant . . . If anyone has any good ideas for me to help let me know! Or if you think this is just the summer vacation blues, let me know that, too!

PS - here's the update from this morning: So we have a box of like 300 blocks. I ask Christian to make a garage for his cars. I told him I'd help if he got stuck. I come back down with the laundry and he's tells me he's stuck (he hasn't even opened the box). So I help him a little bit. Then I tell him to make another and he says he can't. So I tell him he can't stop playing with the blocks until he makes something all by himself. He made a quick tower and then gave me tons of attitude about how blocks are boring and dumb!!??! Seriously how many castles I made with blocks as a kid???!!? I'm really starting to think it's how much TV kids watch!


  1. Nora is the same way with playdough. She always insists that I should make the things she comes up with but won't try herself. She also will say she wants to color with markers, I get it all out, then I start to make dinner. 1 minute later, she is done. What?! I have no ideas for you- let me know if you have any for me.

  2. Brandy12:18 PM

    I don't have a solution for you, but I just wanted to say I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I don't remember my parents EVER playing with me and Cody's mom says she never played with her kids either. Cody is constantly getting mad at Josh because Josh is always saying "will you play with me" even when Cody is actually doing stuff with him right then! (It just doesn't happen to be video games so in Josh's mind it doesn't count) I am going to be very interested in other comments you get and see if you get any good advice because I am in your same boat.

  3. This is an interesting topic. My mom is a school bus driver and she says that you can tell which routs are rural and which are not. She says that country kids tend to find things to occupy themselves on the ride while many of the city kids sit an complain about how boring the bus is and telling the driver to switch the music and adjust the volume.

    I was the kind of child that would find something to do. I would have friends that would come over and sit on the couch and expect to be entertained. It drove me nuts as a kid trying to figure out what wasn't boring to them...

    My own sister in law got bored while we were talking to her as we were camping. She had to go sit in the truck and watch "the Lion King" with her son... Isn't that sad. To drive 70 miles to go camping and all you can think of to do is watch a movie?
    The only thing I can think of is limiting TV/video games ect for about a week. Every time they tell you they are bored ask them to do some work like sweep the floor... Maybe they will get the idea eventually... I'm no expert... This is my only idea...

  4. I try to spend a few minutes in the morning giving my kids some real attention, then they are more likely to play well. I have also noticed that when I give them a job to do, like cleaning up all the toys in the toy room, they suddenly are able to entertain themselves for a long time. Granted the toys never get cleaned up, but most of the time I just want them out of my hair, so I would rather the toys be out and them playing with them! I've noticed too that some kids have never learned how to play, and have to be taught how to use their imaginations. Your six-year-old might do better with some legos that have instructions that he can follow. Lucas really likes the small K'Nex sets. They are only about $10 and there are several different things you can build with one set. The instructions are easy to follow too. There's my 2 cents, for what its worth. Good luck! My kids get this way a lot too!

  5. I know exactly what you're talking about! My mom used to kick us outside and then drag us inside before bed. Now they need constant stimulation. Since I am a bit of a slacker mom, I've just started to ignore them, usually when I'm trying to get chores done, and they eventually end up entertaining themselves. My biggest challenge IS to limit TV, it's so easy, but then my daughter turns out to be the spawn of the devil when we turn it off! Good luck in your predicament, we're right there with you!

  6. I totally understand too! My son is the KING of persistant nagging. BUT- if I kick him outside he will entertain himself quite well. When my kids start nagging and whining about being bored, I will say "OK- you have 3 choices..." and then list a few things they can go do...this usually gets the wheels turning and Clinton will start in with a few other suggestions of his own and I'll let him do whatever is reasonable. My kids are down to almost zero TV- the only time we watch is nighttime before bed. I think that's helped A LOT! Their imaginations have really developed just within the past couple of months. Another thing we do is put all of the toys in totes and then switch them out. I'll tell the kids they have to pick up their toys and put them all away and I'll get another tote out with new toys in it. They are ones they haven't seen in awhile so it usually draws at least an hour of attention or so. Good luck! Hope maybe some of this will be helpful to you!

  7. Amen, sistah! My kids do have great imaginations, but it takes so much coaxing to bring it out, that by the end of an activity, I'm done and just want to put a show on or something. Urg. Oh well, at least we're trying!