Too Much Play Time?-Solving the Boredom Problem

My two youngest children are best friends and play a lot with each other.  It is so fun to see them enjoy each other.  This summer we have noticed that they are getting a bit too much play lately though. The sun comes up and someone is at our door asking to play.  The children do their chores and run outside.  They would stay there day after day, all day, if I didn’t ever call them in. 

The other day my husband and I noticed some very distracted behaviors.  My six year old was showing off a lot and acting a lot more “crazy” than usual.  He was also trying to be the “funny guy” by popping off. We looked at each other and both knew something needed to change in my son’s day.  He was having too much friend time.  The influence of the friends were transforming him into a more selfish six year old than he regularly was. 

In our family meeting this Sunday we decided to put limits on play times and increase family work times.  When we brought it up to the children they were totally on board with the idea.  They knew that they were getting selfish and lazy and wanted a change too.  In one day my little six year old has already had a change in attitude. 

We love friends, but it is so hard to keep family as the first priority if friend time consumes most of the day. 

It is hard to say no to friends, but our family has found out that saying no to friends sometimes is the same as saying yes to family!  We think it is more wise to care about the feeling in the home and the character of the family members then the enjoyment of the neighborhood children. 

One of our foundational principles is people often ask for exactly what they do not need.  This usually always the case with children.  When they beg for computer time they probably need book time, and when they beg for candy they probably need vegetables.  We call this Janet’s Junk Food Principle. 

Think of things you can do to encourage your family to love family time more than friend time this summer.  If they say they are bored, they are really saying they want more time with family and with you. 

For more free parenting advice visit Nicholeen’s blog http://teachingselfgovernment.com

8 thoughts on “Too Much Play Time?-Solving the Boredom Problem

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention » Too Much Play Time?-Solving the Boredom Problem The Millennial Star -- Topsy.com

  2. Interesting Nicholeen. We live in an older neighborhood with large lots and one of the disadvantages/advantages (depending on your outlook) is very few children live in our neighborhood. Consequently play-dates have to be arranged for my kids to play with friends. Like you have mentioned, it is easier to control the friend situation, but somehow I feel my kids have missed out on the whole neighborhood gang feeling of my childhood.

  3. While I agree that you should have your kids spend more time doing wholesome activities in the home, I agree with Bruce. The behavior of your children’s friends is the influence, not the time they are away playing. Your solution probably works great as it is now, but just make sure you aren’t too restricting on your children’s playtime as they age. By all means, continue having them do work in the home and spend time with your family (there are countless General Authority quotes that teach that the home is the best environment for raising children). Just be careful that when your little kids become big, all-knowing, independent teenagers, that you give them time to be with friends. If you can allow them that perfect amount of time that is a healthy balance between friends & family, then that’s probably the best. And help them to find good friends. But if there’s one thing I have learned from teenagers, it’s that you should never underestimate the responsibility of teenagers… but it’s also necessary to silently monitor them, just in case. :)

  4. My mom always used to say that if we were board she had stuff to keep us busy. It usually involved cleaning basebords or somesuch! :)

  5. Thanks for all your great comments! JA– I have also lived in both settings, and it is definately better for our family to live in areas without children running all over. My children are best friends with each other and that is the perfect home atmosphere. They do have lots of friends outside the family though. I have just noticed that too much friend time makes my children start to disconnect from family. We try to keep a close eye on that balance.

    If there is one thing I believe in it is that Quantity of time is more important than small quantities of quality time. I know many people would disagree with me, but my observation has shown me that children who spend a lot of time with their families are usually more connected with them and children who spend the most of their time with friends are usually most connected with friends. Whoever you are with most is who you allow to have the most impact on you.

    I hope that adds some carification to my post.

    Again, great comments!!!

  6. My mother would agree with you Nicholeen. She envies my no kid neighborhood. My kids are good friends with one another, but my siblings and I were good friends too. We all played in one big multi-age group in the neighborhoods where I grew up. Perhaps children do not play that way so much anymore.

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