play on, players...

...or not?

Interesting topic, me thinks. Thanks for asking, Lenore.



mommymae | 11:29 AM

my twins played with each other & they still do at 8. they play so well together that others tend to be intimidated by their ability to work together & play off of one another while playing. they never really needed me. the two little ones play alone as well, but they also tend to want me involved. i figure it's because they neither have a twin & don't play the same things since they are 4 & 1.5. i like that they play alone, but feel guilty when i don't have numerous activities for them to do when they do want mommy time. not guilty enough to really bother me, enough that i wonder if i need lesson plans for my days!

Leball | 11:34 AM

Wow, my son is 2, almost 3 and I work full time and I'm a single mommy. So I do take any opportunity I can to play with him, or even sit and read to him. He's playing all day alone and with other kids so I have to be involved somehow. I agree, when I cook or am cleaning he is fine doing things alone, it's when he EXPECTS me to drop everything for him that is challenging. We are learning to keep the balance, for my sake and his!

Amanda | 11:34 AM

Jack hardly ever really wants to play with me and to be honest rolling cars around the living room 8000 times isn't exactly my bag either. My parent's didn't play with us kids very often, instead they took us out with them. Want to go to the store with me? Sure! Let's go to the park! OK! etc. Watching this video actually comforted me because I've been thinking a lot about the topic. I've also realized I've adopted my parent's MO. Which as it turned out, wasn't a bad thing at all.

SoMo | 11:38 AM

I don't play with my kids, but I will ask them questions. Daddy seems the one in high demand for playing. That is probably because I am here all the time and dad is not.

My son (4 yrs old) can play really well by himself and I wonder if he will be able to play with other kids when he starts school. I am sure he will learn how and things will be fine.

My daughter (8 yrs old) needs interaction, but can be bossy. She never asked for us to play with her. Then again she is really into drawing and doesn't want nor need much input.

Not sure about the 9 month old. I am constantly telling the other kids to leave her alone, mainly because they want to do things for her. Which could be the reason she is not crawling, pulling up, etc at the moment.

I would say follow your kid's lead, but never fall into the trap of being your kid's playmate. That can be just as annoying as hearing them whine that they are bored.

whoorl | 1:37 PM

Wito does the EXACT same thing as Archer. "Mommy, come play cars with me!" 3 minutes later, "Mommy, just watch. Don't touch the cars."

Um, okay.

Anonymous | 1:43 PM

My kids read to each other. And play things like Birth Center or veterinarian (which usually leads to interesting conversations at dinner). They are two and four years old. The only time they complain or ask me to play is when I am occupied with the phone or reading a book to myself. However, I do join them in art projects because that is what I like to do. I also read to them a lot.

Jasmine | 2:14 PM

When I was a kid I never remember mom playing with me one on one. I used to entertain myself with my dolls mostly That is until I was four, they thought I was a poor lonesome girl, and decided to give me a brother. Than I mostly played with him. And may I add, as we all know having some friends or siblings to play with teaches a lot to the kids. Not just sharing and friendship but also justice, to stand up for their rights, and negotiate. Kids communicate on a different level when they're with parents. Shortly, I think it's best to create an opportunity for your kids to play with other kids.

Ashley Parker, 2008 Class Reporter | 3:03 PM

I am not a parent, but I have to say that as somebody who has worked with kids in an after-school program and at a summer camp, as well as babysat two different children for an extended period of time daily, I think one of out the 100+ kids in my life that have been in my care actually wanted me to play with her. I mean, actually down, make believe, sip invisible tea play with her. The rest of them oftentimes looked at me like I was an alien when I tried to play with them and get involved with their games. Most times, the way I spent time with these kids was getting them engaged with what I was doing at the time- making snack, sorting papers, cleaning, etc. Maybe because I wasn't Mom or Dad I was not numero uno playmate choice, but I get the feeling that it was probably the same with their parents as it was with me. :)

Anonymous | 3:03 PM

Yes, I play with my kid. I love to play and interact with him... cleaning floors vs. coloring? easy! I can't imagine this being something that is a topic really. There is nothing wrong with a parent playing with their child much like there is nothing wrong with a child entertaining themselves. It is what it is and nothing more really.

Laura R. | 4:04 PM

whether you have one child or eight, each child needs individual attention and they will usually let you know how they like to receive it (singing a song to them, active play, reading or cooking together, etc). to use Archer as an example, maybe he doesn't want Rebecca to play trains with him but he seems to love going on walks. Walks can be playful when you include pointing out favorite spots, taking turns ordering each other to walk a certain way...
you get my drift.

Sumire | 4:41 PM

This is just such a strange question to me... and it's a little too open ended, maybe. Why would you not want to play with your children? I get that it might not always be "fun" but the times you'll have to do this are so limited.

As for them not having enough imagination or independence because of playing with them too much... that's hogwash. There are SO MANY factors at play, not to mention the child's actual personality. You might never play with them and they might never figure out how to amuse themselves enough. Or you might play with them all the time (as my mom did, while home with me) and they might still be highly self-sufficient - as I am. I'm independent and self sufficient to a fault.

It seems, to me, that saying things like, "I don't want to play with my children because I want them to be self sufficient" is actually a cover for "I don't want to play with my children." Period.

That's not meant to be an insult - If you want to play, play. If you don't, don't. But don't say that it will affect their imagination or how self-sufficient they are. Play with them and let them lead. Ask them to come up with ideas, if that's REALLY the issue you're worried about.

Kristin Baldwin | 5:54 PM

When the kids are playing LEGOS I have to join, cannot resist the Legos. Even if they are like, "Go away," I want to build a Lego spaceship and hog all the good pieces.

jessica | 8:13 PM

as someone who doesn't speak to, nor will i ever again, to my own biological biotch, I am thrilled when my kids want to spend any kind of time with me! I don't like playing Barbies but I will, occasionally. I prefer to do activities like cooking, walking or reading with my kids but will also get on the floor and build a Lincoln Log cabin. My 15 yr. old girl still speaks to me so I must be doing something right- ha!

Anonymous | 1:17 AM

I liked playing with my kids and my sisters kids. But NOT make believe stuff. I suck at that. But physical stuff, like hide and seek, or tag, I can do. I also love to let them help me cook. I think that is one of the BEST ways to spend time with the kids. Plus they feel so great about being the ones who 'made' dinner. It's good for the self esteem.

Mama_of_five | 8:41 AM

Should you play with your kids so much that dinner never gets cooked and your house is a sty? No.

Should you play with your kids so they learn to be socially-adept, considerate, and good sharers? Yes, absolutely.

Such-and-such a game "isn't my thing"? Sorry, not every minute of raising a child is going to be smiles and sunshine. Changing blow-out diapers and soothing colic probably "isn't your thing" either, but it needs to be done just the same.

Shaina | 9:24 AM

It's interesting for me to see the mom take on this...personally, I'm just a babysitter, soon to be a nanny. And it really depends on the family, but most of the time when I'm babysitting I'm their #1 favorite playmate! when they're little, at least. I can't count how many times I "played fireman" with one of my charges, now 5yo. He *Loves* playing with Shaina! His older sister used to, but now she's almost 8 and would rather play with the girl next door. she still indulges me sometimes though! i love playing with kids. i also want to be a preschool teacher. so maybe i'm biased?

now that i think of it, though, i don't remember my mom ever playing with me. huh. i can't see myself not playing with my kids someday, though, it's just too big a part of how i interact with them.

Marisa | 11:42 AM

I think it's VERY important to play with your children one on one. If not, children will do other things to get your attention (i.e. behave negatively). Playing with your children teaches them how they should interact with others (nicely, patiently) and that you are actually interested in what they are doing and who they are as little people.
My son is only 15 months old and I dont' sit and play with him every minute, but will play with him for an hour here, 30 min there, etc.
He also knows how to entertain himself for long stretches.
Balance is everything...

Nikki | 2:45 PM

I kept thinking, "you don't LIKE it?" when reading people's comments and hearing from the "no, you don't have to play with them," camp. Uh... What Mama_of_five said... I don't like waking before 8 am, either. And some days, I don't feel like interacting with my husband (rarely, but I have my moments). But it's all about having human relationships - husbands, children, friends. We make what some consider "sacrifices" and we build relationship & do things we don't always want to do because we love the people in question.

My son is only 6 months and I already love playing with him. I can't wait to play with him more and I HOPE he'll want to play with me. Because some day, he won't want to and he won't want much to do with us at all and I'll miss these days something fierce. As I think people who "don't want to play with their kids" might miss these days and possibly wish they HAD played with them more.

Sonja | 9:42 PM

I think I've got a good balance because I do enjoy playing with my children but I also want them to learn how to play and entertain themselves. I saw something on that new movie "Babies" that said that children (1,2,3 years old?)in Africa were often left unattended for up to 8.5 hours! That was shocking to me. They said that parents in the US focused on stimulating their children much more than other countries but that the children all reached milestones at about the same age. Makes me want to see that movie! I also heard that the African mother rubs some poop on her knee in like it's beware of that! :-)

Stef | 5:34 AM

I have a friend who seems to feel like it is her job as a stay-at-home mom to play with her daughter all day long. To the point where she can't have a conversation with another adult without her 2.5 year old interrupting every 30 seconds.
I play with my 2.5 year old...but I don't feel obligated to entertain him all day. Example: I will take him outside with me to hang laundry and get him set up in his sandbox-- he can play contentedly by himself for a good half hour while I do other things. Inside the house, I'll get him set up with a coloring book and crayons while I load the dishwasher...
This was a good topic, something I had been thinking about quite a bit lately. So thanks!

anie | 5:12 PM

We are "non-players". And "free rangers" as per Lenore. Our kids are 6 years apart and the older, girl was at daycare, playing with other kids all day while I worked. When we came home, she wanted quiet; quiet play, mama reading books or "helping" me in all the ways little ones like to do. Now I am at home FT and the 2 year old also likes to play...alone. She does very well in social situations, however, despite not ever being in any daycare. Not sure what the final outcome will be for these two girlies, behavior wise, but right now we are all going in a great direction.
And, for what it's worth, neither of my parents ever played with me, but my memories are vast and vivid of time spent with them doing "their" things: sewing, cooking, fishing, camping. That has translated into a vast array of interests for me as an adult and now the girls are also interested in similar "parent" type things. Neither party obligated to get involved, but willing and able.

Amber, The Unlikely Mama | 3:15 PM

I want to believe that I'll just have to go by my daughter's cues. If she asks me to play, sure...I'll set up a tea party for her and her dolls. If she just wants me in the room to watch, well...I'll hang out and read I guess.

Right now she's only 1, so it's not really an issue. If she wants my attention she crawls on me (I always sit on the floor while she plays around I'm accessible if she needs me). I try not to intturpt her if she's playing by herself. If she's off in the corner being too quiet, I will check in, because quiet one year olds tend to be eating something off the floor :P

I like the idea of having kids "help" you. They get to see how things work around the house so they don't grow up thinking that clothes fold themselves, dinner cooks itself, floors clean themselves, etc. They get one on one time with you. And they get to play house...the real way!`