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How much do you play with your school age children?

(10 Posts)
JesusInACabbageVan Tue 22-Jan-13 16:21:13

Genuinely don't know what's best here. I have two boys, DC1 is nearly 7 and DC2 is nearly 4. DC1 at school, DC2 at pre-school three days a week while I work and at home two days.

I would really like to know how much actual playing with children this age other mothers do. On school days we come home, the boys watch two TV programmes with a snack and then play until tea time. We chat intermittently and over tea, then they might play a bit more or potter about until bath. Then we read stories and then bed.

While they're watching TV or playing I'm normally finishing a bit of work or cooking tea. Sometimes I have to referee on fights. Sometimes they come in to the kitchen and chat to me or play around me. They have jobs they have to do (recycling, putting their clean laundry away) and so I might ask them nicely nag them to do that.

On my days off DC2 and I potter around the house on Thursday, I do some housework, might read to him a bit or play a game but on the whole he amuses himself. When it's nice we go to the park. Friday we might go to the park or softplay or to see a friend.

I feel like I spend a lot less time playing with DC2 than I did with DC1 at this age, because they play together a lot. And I wonder if I should be doing more with them in terms of playing board games or doing craft activities or you know, all the things we beat ourselves up about. What do people think?

Tee2072 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:24:30

My son is 3.7 and is at preschool 5 mornings a week and at a day nursery 2 afternoons, so I have him at home with me 3 afternoons.

We walk home from school, have lunch, he gets about an hour of downtime and then we read or do puzzles or the like until I have to make dinner, so maybe an hour or so?

Some days, if I'm particularly tired or sore (I have chronic pain) he plays on his own all afternoon or even watches TV

plentyofgrowingroom Tue 22-Jan-13 16:27:34

I have 3 DC 8,7 and 5 and they mainly play with each other. I spend a lot of time looking at art/Lego models they've made and they pop in and out of kitchen chatting but it's definitely less full on than it was when they were younger.

wewereherefirst Tue 22-Jan-13 16:32:08

I don't play with DS1 as much as I would like but he doesn't want to play with me! We do read to each other and do lots of baking so it evens out I suppose.

ByTheWay1 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:42:20

I have 2 girls now 9 and 12 - We have always played a board game most evenings after tea . At first when they were little it was snakes and ladders, now Labyrinth/ Monopoly - it can take aaaaaaaaaaaaages - at the weekend Cluedo, Risk or Descent (a bit like a dungeons and dragons game) , then a tv programme to wind down, then reading in bed (sometimes we read, and since they were about 6 sometimes they read).

It is nice - we talk lots while playing and don't waste evenings sat in front of the goggle-box. We all miss it if we go out, or if there is something we have to do instead. We also have a big jigsaw on the go - stored under the sofa on a board, and we girls all knit/cross stitch and we all like to build stuff - electronics kit/lego etc.....

The above makes us sound soooo twee/geeky, but I still enjoy my "American trash" NCIS/Bones/House too.... and the kids like to play alone on their Nintendo DS or some trashy Moshi monsters games on the PC.

JesusInACabbageVan Tue 22-Jan-13 16:48:50

I always wonder if I should be relentlessly ferrying them to activities every day or doing cutting and sticking until glue comes out of my ears, or whether in fact they don't need that from me at all.

Tee2072 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:51:54

Jesus I do know that with my son if I am playing too much with him? He tells me. He also asks me to play or read or what have you when he wants.

So...why not ask your kids?

::radical suggestion::


ByTheWay1 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:39:58

We don't do the ferrying to and from loads of activities thing - just Karate.. balance is the thing- if they AND YOU enjoy doing stuff together, go for it, if not just let them "free play" - some days they will want more from you than others...

Virgil Tue 22-Jan-13 17:43:42

In an effort to play with my DCs more we have recently turned Saturday night into Games night. We all play board games and eat popcorn. It's great fun and the DCs love it.

JesusInACabbageVan Tue 22-Jan-13 18:36:37

Tee I couldn't do THAT!?!?!? Talk to my children? ASK them their opinion? Whatever next? <<implodes>>

I'm trying to persuade DC1 to do cricket coaching but he is vehemently against. They both have swimming lessons on a Saturday morning, so I was thinking one after school activity might be about right.

I think I'm feeling guilty because having quit my job to freelance and spend more time with the kids, I find I spend more time in their company, but not necessarily more time actually playing with them, iyswim. I had grand ideas about taking DC2 swimming every Friday but <<whispers>> I hate swimming....But I think DC1 is glad not to go to afterschool club any more, and DC2 definitely likes being at home more.

Like the idea of Games Night except it might have to wait a bit until DC2 can stop trying to eat the board. And does it always descend into arguments? My two could argue over a speck of dust.

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