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Do all four year olds whine in woods?

(41 Posts)
Leda Mon 27-Oct-08 19:39:41

We have just moved from a city to a village with our house being opposite a small, but rather lovely wood.

When I take my four and a half year old dd to go look at some autumn leaves or to hunt for bugs, mushrooms or even fairies in the wood she WHINES. Non-stop. No fun is had by anyone except maybe her baby sister who sleeps through all of it.

Dd1 says: This is not fun for me! I don't like walking in woods! This is not what children like to do!

I think she is spoilt and that she doesn't know what fun is unless it is so clearly signposted as such (carousel, pink icecream) that it looses almost any appeal to anyone more sophisticated than a five year old. I want to do things that I think we should all be able to enjoy.

Dh thinks I am expecting too much and offered to take dd1 to the local tacky seaside resort next Sunday leaving me and the baby to explore the wood in peace (or even to experience the highly sophisticated pleasure of a lie in).

This is tempting, but I feel uneasy about it. Like I am letting my daughter down by not showing her how to enjoy the wood, the countryside, the river, the lakes etc. etc. All the things we are here for rather than back in the city.

Who is right?

If I drag dd1 into the wood enough times, will she begin to like it?

Do other four year olds like woods or is it their parents who like them?

Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

lljkk Mon 27-Oct-08 19:46:41

Big deal out of nothing, imho. Some people (children) are outdoors persons, some aren't. Which you are changes over time, too.

DS1 hated woodsy outings, he wanted machines and wheels and vehicles, other DC seem to like woods... for now.

Have always lived in fairly rural places, so mine adore being in the woods (4 and 8) so it may just be a culture shock for her.

We take picnics, make camps and look for animals - we have 2 slow worms, 1 baby newt and some treecreepers/nut hatches to our tally on recent trips.

One local woods is very sanitised, with hard paths etc so actually not that exciting.

Our fave woods we go off paths, balance along fallen trees, jump streams, make up stories - the whole family have fun and it is free!

Leda Mon 27-Oct-08 19:50:23

That is how I imagined it would be Marmaduke. Your outings sound lovely. But what on earth are slow worms?

throckenholt Mon 27-Oct-08 19:52:03

have you tried the bribery approach ? Eg - take little snack with you - and say once we find x things, or get to y when we can have a sit down (on a log?) and have a snack.

That has often worked well with mine. Generally they are keen to go but not always. Mine have always lived in the country though - so maybe your dd is a bit culture shocked.

Maybe play hide and seek ? Mine love running ahead and hiding behind a tree and jumping out at us.

missingtheaction Mon 27-Oct-08 19:52:37

good grief, look back on this thread when she is a revolting teenager and weep for your innocence.

you like the woods, she doesn't. why are you torturing yourself and her like this? stop being a woodsy fascist. 'you WILL enjoy the woods! Be Happy! have fun! Now! Or you are a spoilt brat'

go alone - or tell me where you are and I will come along and make a den there with you and we can make a dangerous fire and tell scary stories. grin

Cadelaide Mon 27-Oct-08 19:53:02

We live near a beach, so I took 9yo, 7yo, 5yo and 2 yo for a walk along the sands today.

All whinged and whined incessantly except the 2yo. I find it very, very hard to hide my disappointment.It's a shock when they grow out of loving every small thing you do with them.

I'm getting used to it.

Leda Mon 27-Oct-08 19:57:44

Lol at 'woodsy fascist'. I am slightly German and my dh sometimes makes fun of me by saying: 'you vill have fun'.

Cad You are right. I am a little bit disappointed in my adored daughter. I should get over it.

throckenholt Mon 27-Oct-08 19:58:38

slightly German ?! grin

LostProphet Mon 27-Oct-08 19:58:55

read the title and wondered if it was like bears sh*ttin in them

slow worm

Even if we are not picnicing, I always take smoothies, biscuits and raisins (and hand wipes - not quite as at one with nature as all that!) we get to a particular fave tree for balancing along and sit down and snack.

Other games we are playing at the moment are leaf catching (shake a skinny tree), scruching in piles of fallen leaves, find a fungi, looking for wood pecker holes etc.

As for the hide and seek - only do this if there are 2 adults present. My DD hides rather well and it is sometimes a little stressful and sweat inducing grin.

Cadelaide, I don't like the beach much.

Fennel Mon 27-Oct-08 20:00:33

My 4yo dd loves the forest, so do her sisters 8 and 7. But maybe it took them a while to learn the sort of games to play in these places. I used to wonder why my children didn't do the sort of things I used to do - build dens etc - now they do a bit more but I wonder if some children need a bit of coaching in how to play outdoors.

Mine play hide and seek, they make dens, or jump in piles of leaves, or climb trees, or build dams. I think the 4yo generally follows her big sisters though, rather than being full of her own ideas.

can you take a friend along for her to play with?

Mine also really love bushcraft sessions which take place in our local forests, where they learn to build fires and forage for food and do wood sculptures. Our local woods have art workshops too, draw a dragonfly sessions, that sort of things. Maybe there are some of those in your area?

goreousgirl Mon 27-Oct-08 20:01:58

I'd say take her again, on a warmer day, or a rainy day in her wellies! My two whinge and whine at the park on Monday, love it on Tuesday, hate it on Wednesday etc. Maybe she just didn't feel like it!!?? Ask her what she would want to do an follow her lead. Occasionally, I have learnt something new, this way...
Good luck!

littleducks Mon 27-Oct-08 20:08:18

I think it is probably a culture shock, if she needs everything spelled out to her atm to be fun could you plan some specific activities,
go to woods......find leaves......make a collage

with the second part of the activity being something you know she will enjoy

and snacks are always a good way to brighten up anything for kids, teddy bears picnic?

Fennel Mon 27-Oct-08 20:11:19

Oh, and if you want them to be keen on coming, never call it "a walk". That sounds boring for children. Call it playing in the woods. or going on a treasure hunt. Or going for a picnic. Or going to paddle in the stream. etc.

Leda Mon 27-Oct-08 20:12:53

But those are snakes, Marmaduke!

Good ideas though.

We will try a picnic when the weather improves.

RottenOtter Mon 27-Oct-08 20:14:35

leda
we too live opposite a wood!
ds is five and we have opposite issue to you in that he wants to go there 24/7

I would say this is a wee bit more of a 'global' ( in the smallest possible way' issue

i would say try to gradually 'wean' her off the 'childrens' activities' and on to the 'enjoying the great outdoors'

Children can compleely change tack but it will take time and perseverance

I have TOTALLY changed my parenting tack having started out on the city/actvity route

my ds4's idea of a great day out IS the woods and picking blackberries but this was not my older childrens' domain

I do not think it is dd's 'fault' she is just a product of her environment and now her environment has changed then may she

RottenOtter Mon 27-Oct-08 20:17:40

fennel oddly today ds4 DID say to me 'PLEASE can we go on a walk'

agree with teaching kids to enjoy it

Troutpout Mon 27-Oct-08 20:25:12

Mine whine at any whiff of the suggestion 'National Trust'
ds has been known to yell 'No!! Not National Trust!!' as soon as we arrive in a car park.
Or..'Can't we go somewhere decent that you have to pay for!!'
They will both be on one of those 'my parent's made me visit stately homes' threads in the future

roisin Mon 27-Oct-08 20:27:26

dss loved the woods/beach/outdoors and so on at 4.

Now (9 and 11) they seem to feel it is essential that they whinge and moan and groan when we suggests walks/hikes etc. and the first half hour is a real trial of endurance, especially with ds1. But then they settle down and stop pretending not to enjoy it.

Their school books are full of how much they love hiking and bird watching, and how their ambitions are to be wildlife explorers, etc.

I think at 4 you can teach them to like what you like, and share your interests to a certain extent.

I would not be happy spending my hols at Disneyland Florida, Ibiza, Blackpool or Butlins. When they are tiny you do have to compromise a lot, but I think you can train them to enjoy what you enjoy to a certain extent.

Then the teenage years will come along and they'll rebel against everything I know!

Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 27-Oct-08 20:35:29

Well, my 4-yr-old (and 3 yr-old and 11mth-old!) have no choice, as we walk in the woods with the dogs every day. My 4 yr old IS abit of a girlie girl, but she loves visiting the hobbit who lives in the tree (find a tree with a "door"- but make sure to tell her he doesn't like to speak when there are other people about, as not everyone is priviledged enough to know of his existence! Nothing more embarrassing than someone else striding along with their dog while you are doing the squeaky voice blush)

They also love listening for fairies (again, when making silly quiet giggly noises, watch out for bemused passers by!) OBVIOUSLY adults are unable to hear the fairies (sadly we lose our ability to do so when we grow up), so the children need to tell us when they hear them, while we remain sceptical.

Oh, and there is the crocodile pool- sometimes we are lucky enough to "spot" one. Don't worry, though, the parky (who, lovely man, has bought into this with enthusiam grin) rounds up the naughty ones and puts them in "jail" (the fenced off sewage tank, to you and me wink) Although this year he has decided to send the well-behaved ones to Australia over the winter, for a holiday.

Oh and I forgot the old Ent who lives on the hill- they swear he has moved every day (I allowed them to watch just a bit of the ent stuff on LOTR to back this one up!)

Apart from the magical and fierce creatures, there are nature boxes to be filled, the seasons to watch, cows and sheep at various times of the year, treats to eat in the woods, squirrels, rabbits- sometimes cow or horse footprints to follow like "detectives"...What's not to like????

roisin Mon 27-Oct-08 20:40:22

You could read to her The Magic Faraway Tree. At this age ds1 thought every wood was the enchanted forest and would get very excited when he found some moss!

Leda Mon 27-Oct-08 20:50:48

You know I used to feel like that when my mum took me to Garden Centres. I hated them. She saw them as something we can do together hmm

Argghh

Surely it can't be the same though.

Fennel Mon 27-Oct-08 20:54:34

Not the same, no. Woods (and beaches and streams) are natural playgrounds, very suitable for children to scream and run and roll about and get messy.

Not like garden centres (yawn) or National Trust (as a I was dragged around many boring national trust properties, who cares about old chairs roped off which you can't even touch? Even now I don't care).

but it maybe takes time. and cold wet windy October days may not be the best time to start.

apostrophe Mon 27-Oct-08 21:30:11

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