Suffering from parental boredom? Sometimes playing with kids get tiresome. Here are tips for those days when you’re bored playing with your kids.
On many days, I’m on top of my parenting game. I read with my kids, make a few crafts, and encourage him to help me cook in the kitchen. On those days, I’m an A+ mom. Then you have the other days… the days when being a parent is so boring.
These are the days when I can only take so much of repeating the same answers, fiddling with a puzzle over and over, and watching my toddler play with crayons and dominoes. Days like these, I’m ready to conk out with of course a list of tasks still running in my mind.
When you’re bored playing with your kids
In short, sometimes I get bored. Never mind that all my energy comes zooming back the minute my toddler is down for the night. Some days, the boredom takes over and I’m doing my best to keep from falling asleep while we’re lounging on the floor.
During the days when I’m bored out of my mind, I follow these tips:
1. Participate in activities you actually enjoy
I’m not a rough housing kind of parent. I dread when my toddler wants to play hide-and-seek or run under my legs. But I can get down with some pretend play, so my toddler and I will sit at his little table cooking and eating pretend food.
Find the activities you like and stay away from those you don’t. Thankfully my husband will fill in and play chase and hide-and-seek with the little guy.
2. Let your child play alone while you do something else nearby
When I’m ready to go bonkers from boredom, I’ll pull out a book and read near my toddler. Or I’ll take notes or write in my journal. I’ll even do the dreaded chores.
I’m content letting him play independently while I do activities I not only need or want to do, but are good for my toddler to see.
3. Find kid-friendly activities you and your child can do
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When I’m out of ideas, I hop online and find activities I can do with my little guy. I stick to one activity per day and keep it simple, whether it’s painting with watercolors or applying stickers on paper. You can even create an agenda and assign “subjects” like math, reading and social studies.
4. Leave the house
It’s easy to get bored playing with your kids at home. You’re used to this environment and repeat the same games. And at home, you feel the urge to do chores or take care of tasks, distracting you from playing with your kids.
But out of the house, you have less of an excuse not to play, even when tasks run through your mind. You can’t do anything about the dishes piled in the kitchen when you’re at the park, for instance.
You’ll also have more fun because outings can be new for you. Taking them to an indoor playground breaks the monotony. You’re likely to play because the environment is new or different for everyone.
5. Involve the kids in your world
Some of my happiest days are when my husband and I can go through our regular day with kids in tow. Kids loved sitting in the grocery cart? Score! Five-year-old helped us cook dinner? Awesome.
Playing kid stuff isn’t the only way to “play” with your kids. Why?
- They learn life skills like cooking and comparing grocery prices.
- Kids are always playing or learning. Pulling weeds and planting seeds in your garden is your task but their imagination land of bugs and dirt.
- If you’re happy, they’re happy. No, you don’t want to take them with you to a facial appointment at nine in the evening and have them wait for an hour. But involving your kids into your world can help balance your needs too.
- And perhaps most importantly, kids learn that other people have needs as well. They are not, in fact, the center of the universe.
6. Involve the kids in activities you don’t like
Sounds strange to combine two things you may not look forward to. But folding laundry might be more fun because your child is nearby.
“Play” is anything fun to your kids. Play peek-a-boo with the laundry clothes, or sit her in the hamper while you toss clothes over her head. A boring task now isn’t so bad, you get the job done, and you and your child play together.
7. Take turns with your partner
Every parent has his or her own preference. Let’s say you dread playing “house” or make believe but your husband does. Designate him as the go-to house-mate. Meanwhile, you can play hide-and-seek or Simon Says instead.
8. Compromise and limit your play time
My son will beg to play a game I’m not excited about right when I’m in the middle of something else. I’ll agree, but I explain I can only play for 15 minutes.
It seems harsh, but putting a time limit helps you realize this isn’t forever. You may enjoy yourself more because you’re relishing the moment instead of wondering when to sneak out. Plus, your child will understand when you have to finish the game after your agreed time slot is over.
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9. It’s okay to not like playing
Our play-obsessed western culture values playing and hovering at a much higher rate than other cultures. This is all relative—what is enough play for one family may be different from another. And it’s okay if you don’t like playing with your kids all the time.
Because you’re not five-years-old. You don’t get the same excitement out of peeling stickers or jumping on one leg or building rocket ships. You probably did in the past… when you were five-years-old.
Playing with kids draws out the kid in us, but it’s also okay to play along and not feel as excited as your kid. You’re there to guide him through his enjoyment, not to enjoy it with the same zest and zeal as he does.
10. Enjoy it while it lasts
Lastly, keep things in perspective. By far, this is the tip I tell myself anytime I complain about my kids. Whether they’re clinging to my leg or begging to play, I remind myself that this won’t last forever. Soon my kids won’t want to play these fun games at home or insist on being entertained 24/7.
And those moments where we play—even when we’re not excited about it—will be a memory. Enjoy the moment, the puppet play, the building blocks. The zillions of times they want to keep dancing or racing from one room to the next.
When you know how finite time is, you’re more likely to enjoy it.
I love parenting, but I still have those days where I can’t believe how much of the day has gone by and we’ve done nothing. I’ve accepted that boredom will happen, is normal and will likely disappear with more fun and stimulation.
In the meantime, I stick to activities I enjoy as well as new ones I find online to push the boredom aside.
Get more tips:
- Why Too Many Toys Can Be Bad for Kids
- How to Nurture Your Child’s Creativity
- 10 Awesome Physical Activities for 3 Year Olds
- Characteristics of a Resilient Child
- Why Boredom is Good for Your Child
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