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Benign neglect: how much do you let your (young) DCs entertain themselves?

(30 Posts)
SpawnChorus Wed 17-Jun-09 16:21:01

DD (4) and DS (2.9) have recently started playing together brilliantly. They play make-believe games for hours.

I take full advantage of this and fritter time on MN get on with the housework, but I feel kind of guilty. I have to say that I really am crap at playing kiddie games, and wonder a) if the poor wee mites have taken to playing with each other because I couldn't be arsed and b) if I should get a bit more involved.

What do you think?

MummyDoIt Wed 17-Jun-09 16:22:41

You are encouraging their development through independent play. You are also allowing them to develop their interpersonal skills and build a healthy sibling relationship. Congratulate yourself on your excellent parenting, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

HensMum Wed 17-Jun-09 16:24:48

You've earnt a bit of time off.
If they're happy, and you're happy, where's the problem?

Bumperlicioso Wed 17-Jun-09 16:39:32

DD has always been a bit of a potterer, mostly quite happy to play on her own as long as you draw a couple of cats every now and again. I often feel guilty but I too am not very good at kiddie games.

It's been even worse the past few days as we have all had D&V so DD has been 'looked after' my mummy Pig and Daddy Pig blush.

I contrast it with my friends who's daughter needs their constant attention and won't play on her own, want to led them everywhere. They are very child centric and I'm not sure which has caused the other, whether she is very needy because they let her be or whether she would be like that anyway and they are just making their lives easier. Part of me thinks they are better parents than me for being more attentive but then the lazy part kicks in and makes me very grateful for an independent child!

clemette Wed 17-Jun-09 16:46:57

I look forward to the day!! DD (4) has always needed us nearby and although DS (17m) is much happier to potter, they won't play together and so there is very little down time!

happypiglet Wed 17-Jun-09 17:04:36

Currently mine sre all upstairs Ds playing together and DD pottering whilst I make tea (aka Face book and MN) do feel guilty sometimes but they are happy enough!

sweetkitty Wed 17-Jun-09 17:12:23

My two are 4 and 3 and play together quite well, I mostly leave them to it. They will ask me to come a play occasionally.

DD3 is 11 months and crawls about the floor entertaining herself too.

Oh and what Mummycando it says too grin

Acinonyx Wed 17-Jun-09 17:17:11

Oh how I wish dd would entertain herself! I think the normal way of things is for children to play with other children rather than adults. I don't enjoy playing like a 3 yr-old and my patience wears pretty thin - some days I feel so 'played-out' I can't even stand another minute of it.

Can I borrow one of yours please?

screamingabdab Wed 17-Jun-09 17:30:54

Don't , for God sake feel guilty - there will be many out there envying you. This is what having 2 children close in age is for!

You are their mum, not their playmate, and you are following their lead.

Bumperlicioso To answer your question, I think that there are definitely from-birth differences to how much independent play dcs are capable of/prefer. DS1 was like your DD, DS2 was a cling-on.

I used to worry that DS1 didn't "need me". I soon realised the error of my thinking that when the shock of DS2 came along!

JeffVadar Wed 17-Jun-09 18:08:47

Absolutely don't feel guilty - if they can play happily together that is such a positive thing!

LyraSilvertongue Wed 17-Jun-09 18:14:18

Mine play together on their own for hours. I don't see it as neglect at all.
Your two are playing make believe games (which is very good for them), not sitting for hours in front of mind-numbing TV. Don't feel guilty.

LyraSilvertongue Wed 17-Jun-09 18:16:01

I think of it as my reward for the hell of having two close together (22 months apart). grin

dilemma456 Wed 17-Jun-09 18:40:26

Message withdrawn

SpawnChorus Wed 17-Jun-09 19:17:43

How very reassuring grin

LOL Lyra...it really is VERY wearing to have a close age gap. I'd resigned myself to squabbling and tearing my hair out for the indefinite future so it just seems a bit too good to be true at the moment grin

Clemette - I'm sure it will suddenyl click for your DCs too!

slummymummy36 Wed 17-Jun-09 19:46:20

Mine are much older now but I think too many parents these days try and fill every spare minute of their childs life with "planned" activities.

Kids need time to play on their own. They are learning SOOOO much by it.

Leave them to play of they are happy. If you really feel the need to be involved make some imainative suggestions that may enhance their "role play" or games and then leave them to build on that themselves.

Dont feel guilty, enjoy it! smile

shhhh Wed 17-Jun-09 20:40:18

What a lovely thread and im glad I read it.
I to have been thinking the same thing..dd is 4 and ds is 2 (21 months difference) and at times I find it soooo hard to play with them and I always have so much to do that I always feel guilt blush.

I try and do the housework weekly when they are in bed but however do the day to day tasks when they are around (wiping things down, dishwasher, washing etc) BUT I still feel I should sit and play with them 24/7.

Both dd and ds play well together. We do have episodes of fighting "thats my car etc" but otherwise they play well alone and together.

What I find though is that on days when dd is not in preschool and ds is napping dd seems to want me to play/draw etc with her..sometimes fine BUT today I was soooooooo tired and wanted the time to sit on my butt and read blush Thats when I felt the guilt..sad...feel like she thinks "mums a lazt cow who would rather sit and read/internet than play" sad.

Overmydeadbody Wed 17-Jun-09 20:53:00

I always leave DS to entertain himself and play on his own.

It is most definately not neglect. He's learning independance and I'm getting on with being lazy important things.

babyphat Thu 18-Jun-09 17:35:15

after 8 months of constantly carrying a velcro baby (ie all day long - i did the washing up and hoovering with a baby on my back) i am LOVING the beginning of independent play and dd is having a blast exploring, playing with clothes pegs and pulling clothes of the clothes horse while i mumsnet. i think if she's doing it, it must be natural and alright. and i have earned it

obviously i do interact with her too but i don't think it's good for kids to be constantly entertained with organised stuff.

MilaMae Thu 18-Jun-09 17:51:59

I had 3 in 15 months(not to be recommended)mine all fend for themselves a lot.

I do love to read to them but they seem to not want this so much now,playing though I've never done. Total utter tedium.

It's funny my mum never played with us but I remember her as a very hands on mum. She was always doing masses of housework and she loved to read(to herself).

It never bothered me dsis and I were too busy playing our endless games of make believe. My dad was in the forces so we moved a lot,my mum didn't drive so we spent endless hols on RAF camps devoid of other kids pretty much expected to entertain ourselves which we did.

shhhh Thu 18-Jun-09 19:53:35

shock at milamae...I thought 3 in 15 months..not possible...but then by brain kicked in and I realised possibly one plus twins...grin.

Take my hat off to you grin.

Nice to hear that although your mum never appeared to play with you you still found her hands on and also seem to have nice memories..? smile

shhhh Thu 18-Jun-09 19:53:37

shock at milamae...I thought 3 in 15 months..not possible...but then by brain kicked in and I realised possibly one plus twins...grin.

Take my hat off to you grin.

Nice to hear that although your mum never appeared to play with you you still found her hands on and also seem to have nice memories..? smile

FourArms Fri 19-Jun-09 07:21:35

I actively practise benign neglect whereever possible. Outside on sunny days it's fab. We've got about 10 under 6's on our street, and the mums can fairly much sit and chat whilst the kids get on and play. I love it.

Dragonhart Mon 22-Jun-09 23:51:25

I have three under 4s, and one of the reasons I had them close together was so that they could play together. I love watching them or listening to them. Now that dd3 is crawling she is starting to join in too and it is mostly great (appart from the hitting/pushing/squabling/squashing/biting/shouting/arguing grin)

I often try to play games with them and sometimes they want to but others they just want to play with each other.

They have two cousins that are only children and I think they are lucky to have one another to play with.

Definately dont feel guilty. Just lucky.

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 23-Jun-09 07:29:20

pmsl shhhh - I can imagine you sitting there, counting over and over looking very confused wink

Do not feel guilty - this is the main point of having two close together no?

piscesmoon Tue 23-Jun-09 07:34:28

You are giving them the best possible start in life so don't feel guilty! Congratulate yourself on good parenting-I don't think that you can ask for more than to have 2 DCs who get on and have the imagination to entertain themselves.

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