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To ask if this is extreme regarding 'entertaining' 3YO?

(44 Posts)
YoTampoco Thu 30-Nov-17 17:15:53

AIBU to ask how much attention is 'normal'/ reasonable to give a 3 year old child? For example, is 7am - 7.30pm being pretty much entirely geared to keeping the child entertained normal? Or would some 'downtime' be reasonable at that age, as in maybe some time amusing themselves and not continually being amused by the parent? Or even just a small amount of time to be allowed to be a bit bored? The situation I am referring to is to the point where nothing else can be done when the child is around, not even having a shower or sending a text message, because they are the absolute focus of attention at all times, from jumping out of bed the second they stir in the morning, right through to bedtime.

I don't have DC so am prepared to be told that IABU, but I do have friends and family who have them and don't necessarily think that they are quite this 'extreme'. I would be interested to get more views though.

OuchBollocks Thu 30-Nov-17 17:17:17

Depends on the child really.

tinysparklyshoes Thu 30-Nov-17 17:17:35

For example, is 7am - 7.30pm being pretty much entirely geared to keeping the child entertained normal?

Ha! No seriously, actual lol. Who could do that, or want to?

Bambamber Thu 30-Nov-17 17:19:39

We all make different parenting choices, you get judged no matter what you do

Ttbb Thu 30-Nov-17 17:19:40

My eldest is a bit like that. Unless you have allowed him to watch a film/taken him to a playground he just won't leave you alone for more that five minutes. Obviously I have done my best not to encourage it but he just seems to need an obscene amount of attention/socialisation.

WorraLiberty Thu 30-Nov-17 17:20:02

I've known people to do that with their first child

They really regretted it when subsequent babies came along.

anothermalteserplease Thu 30-Nov-17 17:21:10

That would be unusual. Most kids will need downtime during the day and need to experience boredom in order to become more imaginative. It depends on what’s going on though.

YoTampoco Thu 30-Nov-17 17:25:45

I should have added, the child in question has no additional needs or anything like that. The parent in question has them 50% of the time (split when child was 2).

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Thu 30-Nov-17 17:29:57

Yes that's extreme if there's no underlying issues. Really bad for the parent and the child.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 30-Nov-17 17:30:55

Hahahahaha I was also like this with my oldest - his sister is positively neglected by comparison. However saying that I do think three can be quite a hard work sort of age even with the easiest children. So I understand it to some degree but once my second was born it was like an immediate wake up call that she would never have that amount of time dedicated to her, and yet i’m sure she’s still fine. I wouldn’t judge someone for being that way but to answer your question, it’s definitely not unreasonable to have some element of time to yourself through a 12 hour day. Essential in fact. I would end up snapping or shouting much more quickly if my entire day was dedicated to a 3-year-old.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 30-Nov-17 17:31:56

I suppose what i’m Trying to say is I learnt that lesson the hard way and I wouldn’t do things that way now...

Amanduh Thu 30-Nov-17 17:33:00

Well, maybe because they only have them 50% of the time they want/feel like they have to focus all the attention on them.

Ecureuil Thu 30-Nov-17 17:34:38

It sounds unusual to me and certainly isn’t how I parent mine, but I wouldn’t judge as all children are different.

Psychobabble123 Thu 30-Nov-17 17:34:55

It does no favours to children to fill every minute of their day. Being left to their own devices is vital fo their development.

JennyBlueWren Thu 30-Nov-17 17:35:32

My son's not yet 3 but he will amuse himself with his toys for a bit but won't play in a room on his own unless it's watching TV. He likes to play in the same room as someone. He likes to be able to tell me about what he's doing and will ask questions so you're not entirely free to do what you want but I'm typing this now while he potters around with magnetic letters on his board.

Having a shower means he needs to be with the other parent or else he can play with his bath toys in the bathroom.

If he's ill or tired then it's the opposite and he wants to be on a lap and having hugs constantly!

kaytee87 Thu 30-Nov-17 17:35:47

Depends on the child. It's not all just 'entertaining' of course, there's a fair amount of cleaning up, food prep, discipling to do. If the person only has them half the time then maybe they don't want to put their focus elsewhere on those days. I have to take my toddler in the shower with me then we get ready together. He's only 16mo though. When he is awake my whole day is pretty much looking after him, when he has his nap I tidy up and have a 'lunch break' of course it's possible to send a text though.

Can I ask why you're asking as that will probably shed like onto the situation?

tinysparklyshoes Thu 30-Nov-17 17:37:37

It does not depend on the child, it depends on the parent. There isn't a 3 year old alive that needs their parents full attention for every second of every day full beam, to the exclusion of every other thing.
And I say that as someone who had a child with lots of additional needs.

kaytee87 Thu 30-Nov-17 17:40:05

What I mean is @tinysparklyshoes that some children are a lot more hard work than others. For instance apparently I happily played alone but my brother screamed his head off. So of course it depends in that way. But of course it's possible to send a text!

I suspect the op is exaggerating a bit? It's hard to know without knowing the reason for the question.

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Thu 30-Nov-17 17:40:47

I suspect that the parent thinks that they are making the most of their time with their child. I wouldn't be surprised if they felt guilty about not being around 100% of the time so overcompensate by giving the child constant attention.
Saying that, 3 year olds can be clingy and demanding. (Threenager is a term often used to describe them) They range from the confident type who doesn't need constant adult stimulation to ones that would sit on your lap all day if possible (even when you want to go to the loo and do private stuff like replace your tampon)

formerbabe Thu 30-Nov-17 17:41:11

That sounds exhausting! How would you ever get anything done?!

At that age, it's reasonable to say
"Right, sit at the table and do some colouring while mummy makes dinner"
Or
"You play with your Lego, whilst I hang up this washing"

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Thu 30-Nov-17 17:43:43

My experience of 3 year olds is that they are happy to do housework that doesn't involve tidying mess that they made directly- laundry, dishwasher, getting ingredients out of fridge etc

PinkyBlunder Thu 30-Nov-17 17:43:52

The parent in question has them 50% of the time

Maybe because of this the parent actually wants to devote all their time to the child? I’d probably feel the same.

3 year olds are funny creatures but it depends on the child. Mine was particularly demanding. It’s starting to pass now.

PineappleScrunchie Thu 30-Nov-17 17:51:56

Constant entertaining, no.

Constant supervision - for some 3 year olds, yes.

Ansumpasty Thu 30-Nov-17 17:54:46

That sounds extreme and quite bizarre. Can't be good for the child, either.

Splandy Thu 30-Nov-17 18:07:33

No, I don’t think it’s ‘normal’, but it’s exactly how my eldest was (and still is). I found it draining and I think it contributed to my poor mental health at the time. I can remember locking myself in a room to cry and having him outside the door kicking it because he wouldn’t do anything alone. At times I felt like he was drilling into my brain or suffocating me. I tried many strategies and nothing worked. He’s now ten and still exactly the same. He is unusually sociable and seems to have a need to be around other people and have constant interaction. He would rather lie on the floor shouting and crying for an hour than do anything to alleviate boredom. He follows me around the house filling his time by doing things like swishing his hair across the floor for ten seconds and asking what I’m doing now. Every ten seconds. The only thing he does alone is screen time. He hasn’t ever really played with toys properly and they are only used if he has friends over. It’s been that way for many years now.

My youngest is two and happily toddles off to play with things alone and amuses himself. I’ve treated them both the same and it is a relief to realise that I didn’t do anything wrong, but that is just his personality. I used to wonder how anybody could even contemplate having another child with a toddler because of the amount of interaction and attention he demanded. I now realise that his behaviour wasn’t typical!

I find it very frustrating when people assume that I must have provided entertainment too often and made him reliant on it, or that I haven’t considered just allowing him to be bored. I obviously don’t provide non-stop entertainment but he still wants it and does nothing for himself in the times that nobody is interacting with him.

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