Stop Entertaining Your Children!

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Society tells us to do this craft, take them here and take them there. Don’t get me wrong  these are all great things to do with our children. I have found that all of this activity may not be very beneficial. After a lot of entertainment my kids don’t know what to do with themselves when I’m not there throwing fun in there face. Honestly, I don’t like it. We may be young but my husband and I are pretty old school in how we raise our children. I want them to be creative and independent enough for me to open up the back door let them run out barefoot. I want to be able to yell, “Have fun, I’ll call ya when lunch is ready!” In the summer we do have days like that. They are wonderful. I think that all of the entertainment we feel forced to give our children is why so many women feel like they can only handle one or two children. They are running themselves ragged trying to keep them happy. It’s hard enough to keep up with children in general but nearly impossible to keep throwing excitement in their face all the time.

 

It’s easy to see it in adults every day. They are constantly looking for something to get into and can never seem to be satisfied. I often wonder if this is because of the endless activities they had as a child. It is sad to see someone never be content with just sitting or using their brain to be creative. I don’t want this for my children. I don’t want to have that kind of relationship with them to were they look to me to provide them with their entertainment. I also don’t want their fun to depend on rather they have friends around or not. I have very social children. I love them playing with their friends but the problem comes when they don’t know what to do with themselves when no one else is around.

 

A hard lesson for parents to learn is when you should say yes in order to encourage their creativity and let them find their own fun. It’s very easy to sit them in front of the TV or computer so we can have our eye on them all the time and know they are safe. What if we said yes to climbing the tall tree? What if we said yes to them being on the swing set learning how to climb the ladder and go down the slide by themselves? Are they gonna fall? Yep, probably so. But they are figuring it out for themselves and I am there in the distance if needed. I want to facilitate the learning and imagination not feed it to them with a spoon.

 

Yes, some days are long and tiresome. But when you have the ability to let them pretend, play, fall, run, and climb your job as the parent is the facilitator of them finding their own capabilities. I am not run ragged or filled with guilt because I didn’t take them to the movies or to a friend’s house. When we have days like that everyone unanimously says it was a great day even if there are a few more bruises:)

 

What do y’all think? Do you see the trend in constant entertainment in children too? It’s hard not to fall in the trap, but I am convinced it is the way childhood is meant to be. FREEDOM to figure it out and have fun the old-fashioned way! Subscribe and share!

 

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18 Responses to Stop Entertaining Your Children!

  • Helene says:

    We are on detox from too much electronics at our house right now. It’s so obvious that all that “excitement” didn’t do the little one any good since she seems to have forgotten how to play by herself! Thanks for the encouragement to stay the course.

  • Shelly says:

    Absolutely, and, like you said, kids are suffering for it. They’re no longer able to think for themselves because they’ve always had someone to think for them. A partner to this would be overscheduling your child. That is rampant, and the saddest part is that many parents do it as a status symbol, not for their child’s benefit. I have a family member who recently told me that her 4-year-old takes French and computer classes. Really? Whatever happened to playing paper dolls and hide and seek? Don’t get me wrong. I will occasionally do a craft with my kids, and my oldest daughter is in an art class, but that is by her choice. We really need to just let kids be kids.

    • Brittany says:

      I couldn’t agree more. If we are busy in every activity then I think they grow up too fast! I want to take it nice and easy, there is plenty of time for all the extra stuff later.

  • katrina says:

    I agree, Brittany. Well said. Boredom breeds creativity, so I say let your kids get bored and see what they come up with! 🙂

  • Yes, Brittany, I think much of our children’s boredom (and much of our own boredom) comes from our steady diet of entertainment which involves little imagination. Thanks for pointing this out and taking the pressure off moms who feel they need to constantly be entertaining their children.

  • Great post! It reminds me of this essay that I really enjoy http://frederica.com/writings/the-flaws-of-the-fifties-ozzie-and-harriets-rebellious-children.html (I didn’t write the essay & I have no personal connection to the author – I just like it!)

    The only thing I’d take issue with is the allowing them to climb a tall tree. I have an acquaintance whose son was just paralyzed – permanently – by doing just that & falling. Us being nearby is not enough if the activity is dangerous enough to maim or kill.

    But, by all means, kids NEED to be bored now & then so they become creative & learn to be at peace being alone.

  • Becca says:

    Absolutely loved this! I stepped aside just this morning; we had some fun together and then I set them lose while I finished up cleaning. I was just reading work by Charlotte Mason the other that touched on this, too; that children should have hours upon hours of outside play with very little adult interaction. Meaning, when they come to Mother with a questions, answer, expand, be excited and ask them questions in return, but as you’re saying, don’t structure their exploration just let them explore! Awesome post!

  • Cassidy says:

    Absolutely well written and I could not agree more. This is a reminder I often have to give myself again. I’ve never let mine get too far gone into all the entertainment thing but I do sometimes find myself trying to do too much for them to keep them happy. 🙂 Thanks for a great post! Cass

  • Becky says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. I only have an 11 month old but I have found that it seems to bother me more than her when she is sitting in her car seat in the car without anything to play with. I think I am a busy body and trying to push that on to her. On the other side, we wonder why ADD ADHD is on the rise. This world is FULL of stimuli that requires little to no physical interaction. Wonderful topic to bring up. Will be following along with your from now on!

  • samantha says:

    you are SO right. I have a 4 and 6 year old and they are constantly telling me they are bored when they don’t have some sort of game in their face. I tell them to use their imagination and play. they look at me like I am crazy! I am glad I am not the only one to have found this horrible consequence for all these electronics. thanks for sharing. you always make me feel better!!

  • Valerie Oliver says:

    I agree 110%. Children today don’t know what to do with themselves because they have NEVER had to figure it out on their own. Parents are sooooo over protective. I have even heard parents say, “Now you can go outside, but DON’T get dirty.” Oh please. Let’s get real. I remember going out and getting in trouble because I DIDN’T want to come inside for dinner because I was having “too much fun” building a fort in the woods, going through the wood pile and finding just the right chunks of wood to build a “cabin”, or playing in the mud. All I had to do was “hose off”. Heck, I would dry eventually. I never got in trouble for getting dirty….unless I had my “Sunday’s” on. I was encouraged to get dirty, climb a tree, or (God forbid) build a campfire by myself. Mom and dad taught me how to be responsible enough not to burn down the forest. Every kid got a pocket knife at 6 or 7, and knew how to SAFELY use it. I don’t know about today. I don’t understand why parents want to have kids, but not raise them on their own. They want to have them and then let someone else do the raising. Maybe it is because they just don’t know how anymore. Not sure, but I wish we had a bit more “old fashioned” ways in society today. Perhaps a journey back about60 or 70 years would be a good thing.

  • I’m with you on this – kids need to use their imaginations more and learn to go have fun without the t.v. or some organized activity. I am not perfect in this, but feel like I”m getting better. (Our kids also came from a tough background, which hinders them in this areas sometimes. I have to remember grace and patience.)

    My husband likes to tell our kids, “I’m not your cruise director”, meaning he isn’t there to find something to entertain them. If they come whine to me (“There’s nothing to do!!”) I tell them, “Go sit in the corner than. I’m sure you will think of something to do pretty quick.” Yeah, they rarely make it to the corner. 😉

    There are times I’ll get out a craft or remind them of things they can do with their toys (which we have started rotating out, should have done this before). Sometimes that is all it takes for them to launch off their imaginations. However, I’m guilty of entertaining them too often. And yes, I have had the thought of what I would do when there are more of them, God willing.

  • Melanie says:

    Can’t agree with you more!

    Although, sometimes I think people might take that and run with it. There is a great balance and I believe it is so important for parents to be involved with their children too. My Mom was always so busy entertaining herself and not engaging in her children (be it, she was a single parent and had to work for some of that and I love her immensely) she often times left us to entertain ourselves so much so, that I had to teach myself many things like cooking, etc.

    Great Post and yes, now-a-days it is on the other side of the spectrum and people are entertaining waaaayyy tooooo much lol!

    Thank you 😀

  • Gentle Joy says:

    This echoes the cry of my heart – yes, yes, yes! I have always been a big one about removing batteries from firetrucks or other noisy toys that people gave my kids – they know how to make their own siren sounds. We have never taken our kids to an amusement park – we wanted them to continue to enjoy regular parks and hiking….and they do. I want to encourage their creativity – their own personalities- and I don’t want them to be dependent on someone else’s idea of fun or work. Thank you. Gentle Joy

  • I could not agree with you more! It is amazing how quickly boredom creeps in with children today. Or, they fill their time with electronic stimulation like texting so they never learn communication skills. Thanks for sharing!

  • Matt says:

    One of our favorite things is to listen to our 7-yo daughter playing with her Polly Pockets in her room. She creates typical nuclear families (none of this garbage that shows up on TV tearing at the fabric of our society), taking them to church and school, holding devotions after supper and getting them ready for bed. There are fights and conflicts between the “kids” that the “parents” step into to straighten out. It’s amazing to hear her solutions for the fights. Many times she says the same things that my wife and I use with our kids. We notice when the kids spend too much time on computer games, they get surly. When they spend too much time in front of the TV, they get brain dead.

  • T.S. says:

    This was so good! I agree 100%. I agree with Matt too, my 10 year old gets surly after playing computer games. We have 4 kids. 2 older (14, 10) and 2 younger (3, 18months). I let the older two watch too much t.v. when they were younger. With the younger two, I keep the t.v. off during the morning and see a huge difference. They are happy to play. They have less toys than the older two had, but have the best time with a big box. My 3 year old loves to help me cook. Honestly, it is not always easy, but I see the benefits. Sometimes I am tempted to put a video on so I can do what I want with peace and quiet (how selfish of me), but by God’s grace, I stay the course.

    Thanks again for this post!!! Sometimes, you feel alone on this road of going against mainstream!


Hey Y'all! My name is Brittany Styron. Sweet Country Roots is a place I hope to encourage, inspire, and bring a chuckle. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and join conversations about marriage, babies, homeschooling, frugal living, good food, and an old fashioned way of thinking.

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