Some Parents Think Playing With Their Children is Boring as Hell

And if you feel that way, shoot. Don’t feel like a sub-par parent — it turns out that a lot of parents feel that spending quality time entertaining their children is totally bogus.

A survey emerging from the UK states that just about 21% of parents claim that they “don’t know how” to play with their kids, and 30% aren’t even interested in faking it. As for the kids? 55% wish that their parents spent more quality time with them, whether it was playing dollies and tea parties, or coming to baseball games to root on their favorite little players.

I’m lucky enough to be a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, and …

… I’m available 24/7 to my daughter. Yep, there are times where I’m absolutely tied up in what I’m doing, and I can only stop for things like broken limbs, fires, and OK, the obligatory “Mommy! Help wipe me!”, but I make damned sure that I carve out time throughout the course of my day — a good chunk of time — to spend exclusively with my daughter. Whether we get out of the house and hit the beach for a few hours, or take a stroll to the nearby park, or even play games on the living room floor (yes, the same ones over and over and over again), I do it because I love my daughter. And my daughter loves me. And I’m not saying that parents who don’t play with their kids don’t love them, but what I am saying is that kids, you know, normally love their parents so much that any attention garnered from their caretakers is considered enough to make it a great day, whether it’s twenty minutes of play or four-and-a-half hours of play. And it’s not always going to be that way, unfortunately, and I think a lot of parents fail to realize that.

Do careers sometimes get in the way of the things that we want to do?  Sure. But careers only interfere with the important things — like encouraging our children to thrive and play and be kids and feel secure with their parents — if we allow them to.

I’m going to quote one of my favorite movies — a movie that I, incidentally, watched the other day while enjoying time with my young daughter:

“Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? … We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast … It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.”

In case you couldn’t guess the movie, it’s Hook, starring Robin Williams. Great movie with an even better message. And in case you’re one of the few surveyed who claim that playing with their children is dead “boring”? Maybe you could stand to watch the aforementioned movie a couple of dozen times. Or, I don’t know, consider not having kids that second time around.

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9 thoughts on “Some Parents Think Playing With Their Children is Boring as Hell

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  2. I’m all for spending time with my kids, but I think most of that time should be in a learning environment – going to the zoo, a children’s museum, the local park or woods for hikes, teaching them to play a sport, etc.

    I don’t think it is my job to play with them all of the time. I’m not an entertainment director and I really feel that it is a kid’s job to learn how to entertain themselves. It literally IS their job, it is part of the maturation process and very important psychologically.

    • I feel that I should add to this.

      I’ll give one example. My eldest son was born when I lived pretty far out in the country. No sibs, no neighbors, no cable, in fact – we were lucky to have 2 clear television channels on a good day.
      He quickly became one of the most imaginative kids I have ever seen. He would spend hours with his Fisher Price barn, often herding ants into it, pretending that they were horses. We had chickens. He would collect the feathers and play in the field pretending to be an Indian with a homemade bow and arrow.

  3. Though I don’t personally have children, I have many nephews and nieces, much younger cousins, and a brother who’s fourteen years younger than I am. Oh, and I taught preschool at one point. I totally agree with Blurry that there are ways to play productively that are much more fun for the parents than just pretending to be at a tea party. I personally love playing with kids, but I also agree that kids should know how to entertain themselves. My parents didn’t play with me a whole lot when I was a kid, but I was constantly entertaining myself, imagining things and reading and playing outside and dancing. So I honestly don’t think it’s a big deal if parents don’t like to play with their kids. They should do it sometimes (especially when the kids are really young), and they should try to make playtime educational and/or artistic to help the kids’ development, but if they don’t necessarily want to do it all the time, I don’t see anything wrong with that, as it will only teach the kids to be imaginative and self-sufficient.

  4. Once again. Agree with Blurry and Harriet. I think one of the problems with children now is that they don’t use their imagination and it breaks my heart. Our job as parents and role models is to help a child develop into well adjusted adults. No one will be always there to entertain them throughout life.

    When my grandson was here. He was in the spa playing with tin foil boats and army men. He would turn the spa on when “the storm hit.” It was neat as hell watching him. His mother’s response was that of astonishment. (believe me, we did spend a lot of time playing together, but for 2 weeks out of the year, I think we both deserve it.)

  5. I think adults find it boring to play with children because the play is often unstructured and repetitive.

    Adults want to play games. They want rules, they want to accomplish something. Children want to entertain themselves. This is why my little sister spent a good chunk of her childhood in the walk-in closet mumbling to herself with her Barbies.

  6. I agree that kids need to be able to entertain themselves, but I think parents should also enjoy spending time with their kids. Yes, a lot of the time kids want to run off and do their own thing, but sometimes they really just want to play something with their parent. It doesn’t have to be a lot, or often, but every kid likes spending time with their parents. It’s a tad disconcerting that a parent wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to play with their kids.

  7. I remember many playing sessions by myself. I don’t think my parents ever played with me and I’m glad they didn’t; I created such strange unique and very personal worlds, not really vocalizing what they were, making most of the dialogue, action in my head; I don’t think any grown up would really understand what was supposedly happening.
    My mother always says I was very much in my own world, sometimes she even thought I was a bit deaf since I didn’t pay attention to anyone else (ended up getting my hearing tested). The truth is I was constantly living some kind of adventure, with or without toys, using anything that was around me.
    When I played with other kids it was very much frustrated by the limitations it brought (still enjoyed it in a different way though).
    Later I started playing board games with my parents, a sort of game everyone could enjoy and understand.
    Of course it’s a personal experience, but I know that my parents playing with me wouldn’t have been much fun, I didn’t feel the need at the time and found them, well, too boring to understand me.

  8. Pingback: Father of Adolescent Girl Puts His Foot Down … But Did He Go Too Far? – Zelda Lily, Feminism in a Bra

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