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How much time do you spend playing with your children?

(66 Posts)
Juliehafrancis Sun 06-Feb-05 22:46:24


I was watching the rules to roost programme on BBC 3 this evening and was amazed at how little they actually "played" with their children. I am always constantly getting accused of not playing with my daughter enough by my dp but I would say I spent at least 3 hours of undevoted (i.e no disruptions) time a day and would never expect for her to play on her own for a long period of time unless I was near by and could interact with her while cleaning etc
Just wondered what the general consensus is....

Would be interested in everyone's opinions.


Frizbe Sun 06-Feb-05 22:48:17

I've spent most of the day with mine today and my ss! although I was running out of things to do with dd (15mths) towards the end, as we'd been out twice and covered all of her toys, books etc, she's not of the age, where she'll watch tv yet!

Gwenick Sun 06-Feb-05 22:48:48

3hrs???? I doubt I spend that long playing with my two each day - certainly not interupted. I've never really thought about 'how' long I spend - but I'm always there with them and both (even the 14 month old) is quite good at entertaining himself while I'm doing stuff.

Juliehafrancis Sun 06-Feb-05 22:50:53

I guess I just wonder if there is any truth in dp's comments as it really annoys me. I'm trying to do a good job as a mum but at the same time I am the only one doing housework so I can't just ignore it!

PuffTheMagicDragon Sun 06-Feb-05 22:52:33

I think 3 hours specifically playing with your dd each day is amazing - someone in your house needs to eat humble pie and it's not you!

marthamoo Sun 06-Feb-05 22:53:41

3 hours?!

3 minutes maybe....I am such a bad Mum

Gwenick Sun 06-Feb-05 22:54:10

I'll admit I'm there all day with them (well except when DS1 is at nursery each afternoon) but I've never been one to 'sit down' and play with them although I always take an interest in what they're doing and will happily 'go along' with it.

Some of my friends are the same as me, other 'people' (don't class them as friends if they criticise my parenting) think I'm the worlds worst mother because I'm not a 100% 'get down there with them' type mum.

I guess it's just the style of parenting that some have. Obviously if the child that's being left to play on their own is disruptive and naughty then it's different, but I'm proud to say that the 14 month old does what 14 month olds do (opens drawers, changes the TV channel, pulls the telephone off the hook etc etc LOL) and the 4yr old got a glowing assessment from nursery the other week. So I must be doing something right.

Demented Sun 06-Feb-05 23:05:33

Blimey, I am rubbish at the whole playing business. DS1 asked me yesterday if I would play with him, he said I hadn't played with him for ages.

In my defence I put my efforts into doing things together, walking and talking, swimming, going to the park, going for bike rides, trips to coffee shops , reading together, shopping (getting the kids involved though, you hold this, what cereal should we get, what do you think of these jeans etc, etc), making cakes/biscuits, tidying the house and gardening. DH is much the same, he gets them involved in DIY projects and tells them all about coffee making, although he probably scores higher when it comes to actual playing.

I just really struggle with the down on the floor zooming cars about etc. I do try to help with jigsaws, following the diagrams for lego/knex and at a push playdough.

I really do feel bad about this though.

Demented Sun 06-Feb-05 23:07:07

Sorry meant to say 3 hours a day playing is fantastic, how old is your DD?

marthamoo Sun 06-Feb-05 23:08:05

I am just the same, demented. I actually fall asleep if I have to play Lego etc.

But I talk to them all the time, involve them with what I'm doing, take them places and read loads and loads of books. I just don't "do" playing - it's even in my member profile!

Demented Sun 06-Feb-05 23:10:07

Phew, not just me then Marthamoo, I was beginning to have regrets about posting that.

Gwenick Sun 06-Feb-05 23:10:10

demented don't feel bad - I don't - and I don't even bake with mine! Although he does help with the dinner sometimes (or pretends to).

I don't think bringing up children well is ALL about getting down on the floor to play with them and making/baking lots of stuff with them.

- I spent 1/2hr this evening sat at the table with DS1 (4yrs old) looking at UK Atlas - he was looking at all the symbols and asking what they were - he can find golf courses, caravan parks, railway stations, airports and Motorways on it now - ok perhaps not the most useful thing in the world at 4yrs old - but I love maps, and he enjoyed it.

I think as long as children know that they're loved, and and feel secure where they are it doesn't matter if you're not a 'perfect' mum playing with them all the time. (but I really am VERY impressed with 3hr spent playing with them!).

Earlybird Sun 06-Feb-05 23:10:17

A while back, I read that some expert said it was best for a child's development if an adult could spend 20 minutes 3x per day playing/interacting one on one. Doesn't sound like much, but sometimes I'm sure I don't manage that much.

I think your 3 hours sounds a fantastic amount of time!

Gwenick Sun 06-Feb-05 23:12:19

aha - that's the key word I think earlybird INTERACTING - doesn't have to be down on the floor play, or baking lovely cakes.

Demented Sun 06-Feb-05 23:14:30

I remember reading that Earlybird, thanks for the reminder. I don't feel quite so bad now, although it is more difficult to get that time in with DS1 as he is at School now.

Gwenick Sun 06-Feb-05 23:15:24

also says 'an' adult - doesn't say it HAS to be mum, so if Dad spends a bit of time with them too it soon adds up.

tortoiseshell Sun 06-Feb-05 23:29:43

I read somewhere that they also need 'boredom time' which I think is spot on - they do need time to assimilate the stimulation they've had. I also think it is really good for them to get used to playing on their own as well as with an adult - ds has a fantastic imagination, which I'm sure I would have limited if I always played with him - he is much more wayout than me, and comes up with things I'd never have thought of. I'm really rubbish at playing with them, and have to really force myself to, but it is a balance - I would say it isn't good to always be involved in their play.

mishi1977 Sun 06-Feb-05 23:33:43

i dontknow how much time i play with ds as such he is 15mths but i am usually in same room and talking about what he is doing or will play wiht some stuff but he also backs off when hes had enough attention and goes to play alone....he is quite an independent tot and while he likes me to play with some toys he easily gets bored of

MamaMaiasaura Sun 06-Feb-05 23:40:52

Nearly all day today.. i am shattered! Started playing about 10am and finsished just before bathime.. allowing for food breaks etc. Even when i have to do washing and he is in a real 'play with me mummy' mood, i get him helping me. Had him hoovering a bit yesterday

goreousgirl Sun 06-Feb-05 23:42:38

3 hours - wow! I feel really bad now! I have a 5 yr old DD who demands to be played with every second of the day, and only manages to get me playing for about 20 minutes a day - and a 9 month old who gets my time when the older one is at school. DH helps a lot, but it is one of my biggest guilt trips that I don't feel like 'playing with DD', and it is always with resentment or a heavy heart that I give my time VV sad! I wish I had 'taught' her to play on her own when she was younger instead of playing one on one constantly - it's a very hard lesson for her to learn at this stage of her life!

MamaMaiasaura Sun 06-Feb-05 23:44:09

toirtoise shell .. it is bloody tiring too be involved in it all the time too.. i am ready for my bed soon. It was lots of fun today, but.. i agree that they need playtime on their own, chill out time with others and on their own, playtime with little people too.. just a good balance. Oh.. and TIDY UP time!

MamaMaiasaura Sun 06-Feb-05 23:45:24

gg - my ds is 5 too - maybe we shoudl get them playing together!

HunkerMunker Sun 06-Feb-05 23:49:49

DS is ten months old and I do play with him - we like playing anticipation tickling (where I move my hand slowly towards his waiting (and ticklish!) tummy/neck). And we play 'bite your toes' where I pretend to eat his foot and he laughs hysterically. And we play 'Where's DS?!' where I 'search' for him and he sits stock still and stares at me till I look at him and say 'There he is!' and then he giggles uproariously!

He has a collection of toys on the floor during the day and he's quite happy to play with them by himself while I'm in the room doing other things, but I do also play with him for several extended periods of time a day (although this varies as we're out and about quite a lot). I have always left him to play for a certain amount of time each day though - he'd think something was wrong if I was right next to him the whole time!

He loves books - has been turning pages adeptly in board books for months now and always has a chance to do a bit of 'reading' himself after he's had his bedtime story (he sits on the bed in his nursery next to whichever parent is putting him to bed and leafs through the book he's just had!).

But I'm not a particularly good 'playing' mum - I like showing him new things, making up stories and silly words and whispering nonsense to him - he seems happy enough with me and I'm not feeling guilty about sticking a video on every now and then

I totally agree about children needing time to be bored. Children who always need to be occupied by an adult or they whinge that they're bored drive me mad! I'd love a bit of boredom in my life at the moment (I'd use it to sleep ).

goreousgirl Sun 06-Feb-05 23:51:13

Good idea Awen! I've come to the conclusion that I need to find another Mum in this area (Ealing) with the same age gap children if I'm to get on with my life at the moment - Still reeling from the 3's all so hard....anyway - off to bed now...

MamaMaiasaura Sun 06-Feb-05 23:56:36

nite nite gg

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