How do your preteens entertain themselves with no screens?

(10 Posts)
IToldYouIWasFreaky Mon 07-Oct-19 20:33:14

DS (12 next week) has always been quite rubbish at entertaining himself. I am sure I've posted about it on MN before!
Recently it seems like all he wants to do is play PS4 or mess around on his phone.
He'll play in the garden by himself, practicing football etc. He'll also spend time playing with the cat. He plays a deck building card game so will spend some time sorting out his cards but that often ends up with him being on the computer, looking things up. He likes podcasts but also ends up browsing on his phone while listening.
He loves playing boardgames and I am happy to play with him some times but I can't do it as much as he wants and I also want him to be a bit more self-sufficient!
He does do a decent amount of extra-curricular activities which keep him fairly busy but it's just those down times at home where he just reaches for his phone or ask to go on the PS4 that drive me mad!
Am I just fighting a losing battle with the screens? What do other pre-teens get up to in the downtime?

OP’s posts: |
WallyWallyWally Wed 09-Oct-19 16:27:24

Spends a lot of time with friends, some of it gaming but a lot talking, doing homework together, going out to the shops for an ice cream or drink, going to the park etc

But at home it’s
Homework
Gaming
Watching YouTube - some funnies, some science / physics / fishing
Tv
Reading pre-bedtime.l- all screens are off and away after 7pm, tv off at 8, he can read till bedtime at 8:40/45.

And that’s about it. He’s never been big on hobbies tbh thidonthave s problem with the screw

WallyWallyWally Wed 09-Oct-19 16:29:41

... sorry I posted gobbledegook at the end!

I don’t have a problem with the screens as long as the following boxes are ticked:

Homework is done - properly
Bag is ready for tomorrow
He keeps up with sporty stuff (dies something most days)
Does household chores and is generally pleasant to be around :-)

ItStartedWithAKiss241 Wed 09-Oct-19 16:35:32

Mostly screens for my two pre-teens too, although they will do their hobbies- practise piano, dance. If not it’s stupid stuff like playing with a beach ball on the tennis courts or playing keepy-Uppy with a balloon x

ladybee28 Wed 09-Oct-19 16:35:36

If he likes board games he might get on well with problem-solving games you can play alone, like Tangrams?

DSS got very into his Kendama and Kururin when I chucked them in as Christmas present wildcards - they kept him entertained for months, and impressed his mates.

Books, especially the interactive arty ones where they give you a prompt to draw or interact with on each page...

I don't know your policy on chores / pocket money but if he's browsing his phone while listening to podcasts, I'd give him a household project to get on with while he listens and earn himself some extra allowance; organising the kitchen cupboards, sorting out some boxes in the garage... stuff you never seem to get around to but would be fab to have done, and can give him something to do while he listens....?

IToldYouIWasFreaky Wed 09-Oct-19 17:03:41

ladybee28 Those Kendama and Kuruin look brilliant! DS did get very into Diabalo last year and got really good at tricks, so they may be right up his street. And I was struggling for stocking fillers too!

He won't do things like puzzle books, unless it's with me. We've got a few puzzle type games that he could play alone but he won't. He says he's rubbish at drawing so rarely does that. I've offered to get him a musical instrument to learn but he's not interested.

I feel like I am making him sound boring and hard work! He's really not. He's very sociable and loves sports, and playing his card game. And he will do chores if I ask him to. Like I said, it's that down time at home that he can struggle with

OP’s posts: |
WallyWallyWally Wed 09-Oct-19 17:12:36

Tbh I feel my 12yr old is entering an age where I have to respect his choices of what he does in his own free time. Ok so endless physics / science / gaming / funny YouTube vids aren’t my idea of fun but he works hard at school, loves to hangout with his mates IRL, is generally pretty pleasant to be around. So if that’s how he wants to spend the hour or so he has free after school, fair dos.

ladybee28 Mon 14-Oct-19 17:45:01

@IToldYouIWasFreaky - they're fab. DSS started on that chuck-a-water-bottle-a-million-times-until-it-stands-up thing, so I started looking for ways to redirect it sharpish!

You don't make him sound hard work at all – it is a funny age and to be honest when so many adults spend all their time sat in front of Netflix, I think it's great you're both exploring different ways he can entertain himself.

lljkk Mon 14-Oct-19 18:52:04

Mine are just going out to PokemonGo.
cooking, cycling, chores to earn pocket money

Smith888 Mon 21-Oct-19 09:26:35

Your son seems fairly well rounded and has lots of activities and interests. The screen time wouldn't bother me at this stage.
However there is sometimes peer pressure to spend more and more time gaming and if other parents don't monitor it could become a problem for you (some boys played 8 hours a day and that was considered incredibly cool).
My son was new at a school, and his social circle was heavily into gaming. He was criticized for not playing and later not being good at a game and it got very much out of hand. In the end my son decided playing (the dreaded Fortnite) wasn't worth it and it was his decision to stop, phew.

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