Advanced search

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

how much time do you spend with your lo?

(13 Posts)
crazeekitty Tue 11-Feb-14 19:48:03

Just what the title says really. How much time do you spend with your lo actually doing stuff together? No judgement attached to any answers. The reason I'm asking is that dd (9 ish) is starting to feel more confident about being here and taking herself off to her room to play. I've gone from worrying she's got cabin fever from being with me too much to worrying we aren't spending enough time together. We always have our tea together. On school nights I make sure we do something together... A craft, music, play a game, make desert together / homework etc. Some nights she has clubs but I spend time with her before bedtime. I suppose in the 4 hours we have before bedtime in the week we have a good hour of doing something together (or with visiting friends / family) plus tea.

Wondered how it pans out in other families?

crazeekitty Tue 11-Feb-14 19:48:50

P.s. I'm single so I guess that makes a difference but maybe not if there's a parent at home and one working long hours

Buster51 Tue 11-Feb-14 21:35:06

Hi there, I often wonder this myself, 'how much time SHOULD I be spending actually doing something with DS (4yo). It is just me and him at home as DH is in the forces, so we are together from school up until 7pm (bedtime), I'd say a good hour or more is spent solely on 'his' activities for the two of us to enjoy (painting, baking, a mini disco, chilling watching tv etcetc). Then additional time on homework, bedtime story time etc. The rest of the time is cooking tea, cleaning, other 'mumsie things!' but with his age he still constantly involves me while I am doing these things anyway! Tonight for example he wanted to help me with the washing!

Some of my friends have actually commented I do 'too much!' with him!?! our evenings up until he goes to bed are quite often centered mainly around him, possibly as he likes to talk me through ALL of his play too (something I'm hoping is a phase and he learns how to do more independently for his own development). I suppose I just feel bad in a way if I am to just sit watching my programs or something as I feel I should be interacting with him, as well as the feeling of him having missed out on a lot of this 121 mummy attention so I feel he more than deserves it.

I have noticed as it is just me and him this can have an affect when there are others around though - on his behavior!

Therefore others views on this would be very much appreciated for me too smile

I would say crazeekitty however that this does sound about right for your DDs age (not from experience I must add, just through spending time with friends who have children of that age).

crazeekitty Tue 11-Feb-14 22:04:38

Thanks buster. Seems like we are in the same place from your other threads and again on this one, too.

Dd also likes lots of attention whilst playing with her dolls etc and resorts to incredible tactics to get it when she wants it rather than when I can give it... Dinner on, someone at the door, phone going... You know how it goes.

One of the reasons I thought she had cabin fever is she actually relaxes a bit when my best friends call round. She seems happy playing in her room and tonight I was banned from going in because some great secret or other was being planned. I should probably just roll with it and not overanalyse.

I also had really insensitive comments from a single dad friend (no longer) who thought it fine to entertain his daughter on a weekend by taking her to work with him and letting her sit and watch him work. He said I spend too long entertaining dd and should let her get on with it. Jerk! I've missed our on 9 years of doing things with her. Bloody idiot. He's struck off our social list now.

Anyway, back to the original q. Thank you for sharing. It's put my mind at rest that I'm not being neglectful of our bonding time

Looking forward to hearing from others

Meita Wed 12-Feb-14 00:52:49

It is a tricky question. As every child and their needs are different… And also every parent's circumstances are different.

To answer your question, I spend quite a lot of time actively doing things with my (birth) DS (3.5). As in, most of the hours he is awake and at home. Probably as a result, he is not very good at starting an activity by himself, and although he can concentrate for ages on something he is interested in, but if no-one is 'attending' him, he tends to lose interest very quickly. So, I have recently started encouraging him doing more things by himself, with me nearby but doing my own thing.

But what do you really hope to learn from other people? They can't tell you if what you are doing is right for your family or not. Even if everybody else spends less (or more) time with their DC than you do, that doesn't mean that what you are doing is wrong!
I sense some (totally understandable) insecurity about what you 'should' be doing. And yes, too much attention/time spent together is no good, nor is not enough attention/time spent together any good. However, the boundaries between 'just right', 'too much' and 'not enough' are completely individual and only you can judge if it seems ok!

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Feb-14 10:12:25

I get the impression you are newly placed?

When DD1 and DD2 were placed, DD1 was 8. She demanded/needed almost constant attention, at least every 5 minutes. She had no ability to play by herself, or even paint a picture without calling me over every few minutes. She would watch TV, but we were limiting that. It was exhausting.

DD2 is now 9, and is completely different. Yes, she likes attention too, but she can play independently for an hour if she feels like it. She does like us to play with her in the bath still, and read a bedtime story etc, so we always get 45mins plus at bedtime together.

I think it sounds as if you are doing just fine.

crazeekitty Wed 12-Feb-14 13:12:22

Thanks tweenandteen and buster. Seems that the need for attention then the growing independence is par for the course.

Meita in answer to 'what do you really hope to learn from other people?'... Exactly what the above two posters have said. I have absolutely no experience of this age group, have no friends with children in this age group, so just a benchmark for what is typical.

Meita Wed 12-Feb-14 14:25:05

Sorry, I didn't mean it as criticism, just the opposite, to encourage you to go with your own intuition/experience. Already you know your daughter and her needs better than anyone else. And clearly that is what you are doing, going with your child's needs and dismissing your 'friend's' comments.

Benchmarks are great for judging if your situation is typical or not, or at one or the other extreme. It can provide lots of reassurance, or help you evaluate your situation; and might provide pointers as to what to expect in the future.

However, the reason why I asked 'what do you hope to learn' was because I feel other people's experiences and benchmarks are NOT so great for determining what you SHOULD do; what does it matter what other people do? Only your child's needs (and your circumstances and needs) should determine that. So if she needs more attention than most, then that should not stop you from giving her that attention, (I'm NOT implying that it would) and you rightly were annoyed at your 'friend's' comment.

Sorry if it came across the wrong way.

ghostinthecanvas Wed 12-Feb-14 14:34:20

Another one saying it sounds fine. Eventually all things settle. Sounds like she is becoming more independent anyway, as it should be. DH and I struggle with how much time and attention our kids needed. We have now explained to them enough, it's been 2 years, we will still be here when you are playing elsewhere! They responded very well.

Aelfrith Wed 12-Feb-14 14:39:26

Not an adoptive parent but I have 3 DCs. I'd say that what you are doing sounds great. All children go through phases of needing lots of input, then being more independent, then needing more input etc. but of you are building a relationship with your new child how can that happen, other than you doing nice stuff together?... I think you sound like you are giving her lots and lots of positive attention, which can only be good. Ignore what that dad said...what self justifying nonsense was that!

I do quite a lot with my DCs after school, it's nice. And yes it's centred round them at that time of day, why wouldn't it be? They've been at school all day and they'll be in bed later. It's low key stuff though, watch TV, play lego, chat, cook tea, do homework, read books, drawing etc.

crazeekitty Wed 12-Feb-14 16:07:04

Thank you everyone. That's ok Meita. I did take it as a criticism but that's a reflection of my depression not of you.

All the comments have helped me realise I'm doing ok. One less thing to worry about.

Buster51 Wed 12-Feb-14 19:52:05

Tonight my grandparents visited, and he played just lovely on his own, so this is something that he mainly just craves when it is just us alone (probably as he's more likely to get all of my attention!) so he is fine in doing so which was lovely to see! Also, each night we do his school reading book, he always 'hums and hars' over this whilst we do it, one min reading a word, the next min not etc - I was certain this was just to me, so tonight he read this book to nan and he read it beautifully! So definitely just playing up for mummy I think!

On another note it was his parents evening tonight (1st one) and she said his reading has came along great as well as his phonics! He is even starting to be a little mischievous in class (as well as home!) so I am one happy mummy! (yes us mums get happy at strange things!).

So with that in mind I 'trialled' him not getting all of my attention ' more officially' if you like. So we had some 121 time with his play doh, but I expressed that I needed to do my ironing so got on with it, he did engage with me a few times but his playing was brilliant! So perhaps in actually verbalising that mummy needed her time he was able to get on with it. I feel this may bring a more of a natural balance in our home with play individually/together.

Thank you all for your comments (although not my post I realise!) but it has helped a lot.

Crazeekitty I hope you feel more yourself soon, you sound like you are doing a brilliant job smile x

crazeekitty Wed 12-Feb-14 20:23:57

Hey buster. That's a grand step forward in your house. Good news for you. My attachment counsellor actually said that I should practise having an important thing to do or a telly programme to watch and not let dd hijack it. She said she would soon get bored and find something to do. I thought it sounded mean but she said that she has to learn that she can't take control / get attention in every situation so start with something that doesn't matter. It took two goes of me doing it and by the third she pottered off on her own. I think it strangely helped her because she could enjoy her thing instead of thinking of ways to distract me from what I was doing.

And Ty, I'm getting help for the depression. Hit me really hard but I'll get through it.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: