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To have sent my child to play in her room?

(41 Posts)
suspended Sat 23-May-20 15:16:55

I'm done in. We all are. I have just send DD 8 to her room to play.

We go through the same rigmarole every day. She follows me and DH around in the morning asking to play. We play with her (usually a board game or teachers) after breakfast then we ask her to find something to do.

Then an argument starts. She suggests screen time only. (Computer/tv/games console/iPad). We don't deny her this completely she can have it for a certain time a day. We have even increased it because it's how she communicates with friends these days.

The reason we don't let her have screen time all day is that she gets a headache and goes hyper. I think it's completely reasonable.

We suggest art/playing outside/ a game (like teachers/mums and dads) etc. She says no, it all kicks off. She's sad and says we don't like her. We tell her that we love her but that we have house chores/things we need to take care of. (And that we will play later).

But she won't budge: she can't play by herself. Or so she says. Usually she cries and kicks off and either eventually gives in and goes and plays. Or she continues to explode or mope until the next thing to do in the house (lunch/dinner/bed).

She is an only child, is clever, has lots of toys, is taken out for a walk and a bike ride every day with one of us. Is played with or has an activity done every day (we made crumble and a school project yesterday). But she won't ever voluntarily play by herself. Until it's forced and she then acts like we hate her.

I am trying to think back to my childhood and my mum and dad both worked and had chores and they didn't play with us all day. The ironic thing is that when she gets into playing by herself it is hard to drag her away.

Is anyone else's child like this? Play is just an alien concept to her (in her defence even as a little one she never really wanted to do imagination play). And I feel so guilty! I just know she thinks I don't want to play with her but I have things to do. And I will play later.

What can I suggest? I feel like we have to break her down to get her to play by herself and that can't be healthy right?

DartmoorChef Sat 23-May-20 15:19:28

Does she have a dolls house? I was an only child and i would spend hours in my room playing with it. Although of course there wasn't the lure of technology back then which I suspect is a big issue for parents and kids.

bookmum08 Sat 23-May-20 15:27:23

What toys does she actually have. There are a lot of toys that don't actually 'do' much - things like LOL dolls etc. When you are on your own they are a bit boring.
Does she have Lego? Crafty things? Jigsaws? That type of thing? "Go and play" is one thing but has she really got toys she can actually do something with? Not even necessarily toys. My daughter has spent quite a lot of lockdown sorting out her Pokémon cards.

arethereanyleftatall Sat 23-May-20 15:27:36

I have one child who has always just played happily on her own all day long, and one child who likes being social. She prefers to be around people. She's now 11. It can drive you potty. I manage it by;
A few times a day (now in lockdown) I properly focus on her, a bike ride, a run, a bedtime chat. I write that time off and don't keep glancing at my phone as it's more fun.
Then, I don't feel guilty that the rest of the time is completely non-negotiable I have other things to do.
She has an iPad which she uses to FaceTime her friends with, and they essentially play together in their own houses. Dance routines, drawing, whatever, they sort of do it together.

Windyatthebeach Sat 23-May-20 15:32:39

Write down all the family birthdays for the rest of the year.
Set her to making home made cards for everyone...
Make /keep a birthday diary of everyone's special day.
Set her some chores!!
Has she any pets to care for?

roxfox Sat 23-May-20 15:34:13

Sounds like she does play alone sometimes, just not when you want her too.
Perhaps she's lonely? Did you have siblings growing up, perhaps that's why you were fine with your parents off doing chores.
As an only child I'm sure it's normal that she'd want to spend more time with her parents particularly as (I'm guessing here) she hasn't had much social interaction of late due to the lockdown.
I think you might be being quite unfair. Her screen is the only place she can interact with others. You won't let her do that and you won't play with her. How would you feel in her shoes?

whitesoxx Sat 23-May-20 15:36:47

Sounds like you weren't an only child. What are you expecting her to do in her room?

NumbsMet Sat 23-May-20 15:44:06

My kids are too small yet to give you any 'tried and tested' advice, but just some advice from the perspective of someone who maybe used to be like that grin

When she is having her screen time, can you direct her to some art or craft that she's never tried before? Try to get her the materials to do it herself and it might keep her focused?

There's a girl called Moriah Elizabeth who decorates old used squishy toys and young girls I know have been going crazy for it. She's recently been doing a lot of other painting projects. That's just one suggestion (probably one of the more expensive ones to try) but if she enjoys bright colours and creating things then half an hour on YouTube could turn into two-three hours focused play.

KneedANewLook Sat 23-May-20 15:44:31

Let her help with the chores (this makes my 8 year old go to her room by few will!).
Let her do something quietly in the same room as you, jigsaw, drawing etc.
Playing outside alone? With what? That's quite boring, can you give ideas like skip to 100;etc.

DD likes snap circuits. It has an instruction book and many set-ups to work through.
Craft sets rather than "go and draw". Painting by numbers, making animals from beads.
DD also goes through phases of liking to draw favourite characters so I downloaded a "how to draw" set of instructions.
Glue gun and recycling box.

Newchapter2020 Sat 23-May-20 15:44:55

What has she got to play with? I was an only child and would spend hours by myself. I liked to read, play with my dolls,my little pony, polly pocket (that kind of thing) paint/ draw, write stories or poems, write letters, make or build things...plasticine, clay, paper mache, scavenger hunt..can be done in or outside. Collect flowers and then preserve them.

Newchapter2020 Sat 23-May-20 15:46:00

Amazon has got a good selection to make things with, you've got electronic toys to make, maybe she could choose something?

ivfgottostaypositive Sat 23-May-20 15:47:32

My DD is younger but we have a similar issue and it really is highlighting the problem of having an only child in our family - for the odd weekend day or school holiday it's not noticeable and she happily plays by herself.....situations like this where it's weeks on end all day everyday has shown she actually could do with a sibling

SqidgeBum Sat 23-May-20 15:49:13

I have to say, I am in a similar situation. My 18 month old is attached at my hip. She wants constant attention, so be always sitting on me, and for me to always play with her. I have been focusing more on her playing by herself, even just for 15/20 minutes a day. She throws a fit every time. However, after the tantrum (5-10 minutes of fake crying) she will happily play by herself for a little bit. I feel guilty every time, but I think it is important that kids arent always entertained by someone else. They have to be able to entertain themselves.

However, not all kids are imaginative where they will play with dolls. Maybe she needs more project based stuff. Does she like art? Maybe she can have a craft project? Or does she like drawing? At that age I loved learning how to draw cartoons. I know its screen time but there are some great tutorials on youtube. Maybe she could make something? Something relatively substantial but that she can do herself with a bit of setting up. Maybe she can do a jigsaw? Or as other people said, Lego? I think you are right to encourage play time without you guys. Maybe she just needs some direction as to what she can do.

suspended Sat 23-May-20 15:49:29

In her room she has a desk with craft stuff, a load of Syovanian families stuff, her guitar, her Lego, her marble run, all her figures, teddies, mechano, oh and all her books.

She also has all of her 'teachers' stuff (whiteboard/pens paper etc)

Downstairs she has an art cupboard which has playdough, all the make your own stuff (quilts/dream catchers/etc) and paints and other tools and board game cupboard.

She would default to screen time all the time if I let her.

We have been sending watercolours to everyone we know (including michael Rosen as she was sad to hear he was ill) we have been writing poems galore and as I said previously taking her for daily excersize and once a week for a really long walk (5m or so).

I think she's lonely, she's an only child. I think the difference was that I could entertain myself for hours and being sent to my room was the dream as I could read for hours.

I just feel she's getting a negative response from the both of us a lot recently and I don't want her to feel so bad. But we can not play all day. For one, we would go mad, secondly we have stuff to do inc work.

The school work being sent home is taking her to lunchtime max every day. I am dreading next week with no school. 😕

Teddypops Sat 23-May-20 15:51:10

Can she play teachers with her teddies as pupils?

suspended Sat 23-May-20 15:53:17

She's cried for an hour and then decided to make a mosaic with a kit I bought from amazon.

I don't mean 'just go and stand outside' she has a bat and ball, a basketball hoop, her micro scooter, bike etc. And her dads in the garden pottering so she would have company there.

The chores thing is a great suggestion. She has been so bored a few times recently she has voluntarily tided her room 😬😬

suspended Sat 23-May-20 15:54:44

@teddypops that's how she plays teachers. She writes their names down and we printed off a register for her. Then she does lessons.

PaperMonster Sat 23-May-20 15:55:23

My only loves to play with her dolls, but only if there’s noise. So she’ll have YouTube or an audio book on. It’s like a bit of company, in a similar way that my parents have the TV on in the background when they’re doing housework or working. Might that help?

HeadSpin5 Sat 23-May-20 15:56:26

Was this as much of an issue before lockdown? Sorry if you’ve already mentioned that. We have similar situation with same age DD8. We aren’t restricting screen time as much though. No judgement that you are, I note your reasons but she’s lonely (my DD) and it’s proving a lifeline by talking to her friends on FaceTime and WhatsApp etc - or playing Roblox whilst chatting etc. She still will read and do crafts on her own but not for that long. So unless we want to entertain her a lot...

HeadSpin5 Sat 23-May-20 15:57:31

So I guess I’m saying there are different ‘types’ of screen time. We let ours spend about an hour or so a day just watching stuff on you tube kids but a lot longer chatting to friends.

Chrisinthemorning Sat 23-May-20 16:00:43

I have a DS who is nearly 8, lockdown is really hard on only children. He’s sad today. It is much harder when the weather isn’t nice. He wants to see another child in real life more than anything else in the world 😥
He’s enjoying doing stop motion studio on his iPad, I know it’s screen time but it’s also playing with toys (he does Lego).
I’m afraid I have just ordered 2 new Harry Potter Lego sets to try and keep him occupied.
Do you have a trampoline? DS bounces For hours. We also play ball on the trampoline as well.

puppypuppypuppypuppy Sat 23-May-20 16:01:16

At that age I would have happily read for hours I think.

My DS is not yet 4 so will only maybe entertain himself for 20 minutes at a time possibly 30 minutes.

If he's playing with water or sand on a beach he can play for longer.

BumpBundle Sat 23-May-20 16:01:43

Maybe she's just a social being? As a child, I don't ever remember playing alone but I was the youngest of five and my mum childminded every day after school until I was 11 (the girl she childminded is still my best friend, godmother to my son and bridesmaid at my wedding). Even now as an adult, I don't do activities by myself. Alone time is for relaxing, having a bath or a nap or watching TV. My hobbies always involve another person. I love cooking but I do that with my husband, if I cook alone it's never for the hobby of cooking - it's just for food.
Some people prefer to do things by themselves, some people hate doing things by themselves and most people fall somewhere in the middle. No one is right - we're all just different.
I think she just needs more social interaction and to have people around her. In normal times, I would suggest she sees other people to give you a break. I understand your points around screen time too. Perhaps she could use the phone to phone her friends? No screen issues if it's only audio and she's getting the socialisation she wants.
Alternatively, she could prepare something for you to do together. She could prepare lunch for you to each together, she could make a board game for you to play together, she could rehearse a show to perform for you (you said she has a guitar?). This would all mean her alone time is geared towards a social interaction.

rosiejaune Sat 23-May-20 16:02:05

Yes my daughter plays much better when she is listening to an audiobook at the same time. She has unlimited time on her tablet for those (though actual screen time is restricted).

KneedANewLook Sat 23-May-20 16:04:24

Oh, and I bought her a speaker and gave her an old phone to play music or audio books on. She's very sociable and was finding the silence of being in her room alone, either for playing or working, upsetting.

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