6 year old completely unable to amuse himself at home.(6 Posts)
Yet another weekend of stroppy, rude, whinging ds because he is completely incapable of amusing himself for even 15 mins. Unless we are out of the house, doing an activity/playing a game with him or he is at a screen, he becomes stroppy, bored and a pain in the arse tbh.
I'd just like a bit of balance through the weekend really. I enjoy playing and reading and whatever with him, I don't mind him playing on the playstation for a bit, and we enjoy going out, but I'd also really like him to be able to go off and play with toys, or draw or whatever by himself so I an get on with a bit housework or uni work without him being rude and demanding attention, or asking me every five mins when he can go back on the playstation (even after he'd been playing on it for three hours and someone else in the house would bloody like the tv for a bit).
Help me resolve this. It's driving me nuts.
I'm afraid I have no answers as my 7yr old Ds is the same.
If I hear him say "but what can I dooooooo?!?" one more bloody time...
So, I'm placemarking in the hope someone is going to come along and say that it changes soon and he'll start reading/drawing/just going to his room by himself for 10 minutes.
You're not alone!
You have to go cold turkey on it IME. Just ban screens for an inordinate length of time and refuse to entertain him and he will eventually find something to do. He will drive you crazy for a day, or two, and then he'll adjust.
What helped us with this:
Go through his bedroom with him and do a kind of "konmari method" clean - basically take everything out and see what he wants to bring back in when he looks at everything individually. Store the rest but don't actually get rid of it unless he's really outgrown it. (Sometimes thinking that you'll throw something away is motivation to hold onto it!) Too much clutter of outgrown or overused or just mixed up toys means it's harder for him to see and get inspired with what he wants to actually do. And rearranging storage so that he can easily put things away and get things out by himself is useful too, especially when you store things he can do alone and things he needs to do with others separately.
Introducing a ticket system for screen time (so you still get SOME peace!) We linked ours to behaviour the previous day under a "ticket economy system" (which is a behaviour management tool you can google) but you wouldn't necessarily have to - the important part in terms of screen control is that they have a SET AMOUNT which CANNOT be increased or reset until the next day, that they have to hand over something physical to redeem and that when it's gone, it's gone. That means no bugging for when they can go back on it. (The other alternative is to say that it's allowed at certain times but not others, but it needs to be very strict).
Keeping the non screen options up to date and interesting in order to help them "compete" with screen based entertainment. Visit the library regularly for books he can read himself, especially series he's interested in. Pick up packs of activity or puzzle books if he likes those (we found character-based ones are most successful) and bring them out slowly rather than all at once. Make sure your stationery (pencils, pens) work and aren't frustrating to use. Be realistic about what he likes - I finally admitted to myself that DS is never, ever going to be interested in playmobil or the plastic pirate ship we have and put them in the cellar. He hasn't asked for them, and now they are gone he actually plays with his marble run, model helicopter, and so on. Printing out ideas for things to build in lego helped him get interested in lego again. Talking to him about what he's doing and investing time in things which he can also go off and do alone also help - though need to be balanced - I did find a slightly annoying tendency that once I'd done something a couple of times with DS he will then "save" that activity for me and not want to do it alone even when I explain that I don't mind.
My eldest was a bit like this. I did the cold turkey. I think we had three days of HELL and then it was creepily easy. Now he enjoys time with is but is capable of doing his own thing. Lego is the favourite but also drawing.
Get tough for a few days and it will be fine
It's so frustrating because I would also love to have a balance but no matter what they say about children self regulating, DS won't. It's youtube/game/eat/youtube/game/eat/youtube/game/sleep/rinse/repeat and will be for days. We have to take the tablet out of his room when he goes to bed or he'll sit up watching stuff and playing on it. He even woke up at 1.30am the other day and played on it until 7 when we woke up O_O
He has really long hours at school now and so we took the restrictions away but it's literally all he ever does unless we offer to do something together or insist that we go out or make him do chores or he has homework (rare because he normally does it at school). I think I might start restricting it again at the weekends, definitely during holidays he needs it. We'd hit a bit of a snag with the behaviour thing but I think now I might just go with a set amount which can be taken away if needed.
We have a DD who is 7 and from an early age we explained to her that as an only child there will be times when she has to play on her own. Sometimes she moans but on the whole she'll happily keep herself amused for an hour at time in her bedroom with Lego or Schleich animals. If you can bite the bullet for a few days, I bet your DS soon gets used to it. Good luck!
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