What to do When You Hate Playing With Your Kids | From a Mom Who Hates Playing
Do you see other moms engaging in imaginary play with their kids and think “why can’t I do that?” Do you try only to end up hating every minute of it? You’re not alone and guess what, ou don’t have to play with your kids or feel guilty about it. Here’s just what to do when you hate playing with your kids.
1. Accept that you hate playing and That’s Okay
“Play with me!”
Do those words make you cringe? Despite the fact that they’re coming from the mouth of your beautiful child, and you wish they didn’t, they still make you cringe.
They used to make me cringe. As much as I wish I was the mom who can get lost in the world of my child, making believe we’re on safari or throwing the best tea parties for her 50 stuffed animals… I’m not that mom.
I’m bad at playing and I kinda hate it.
That used to really discourage me. I wanted to spend quality time with Emi but I literally did not know how.
And I tried! Believe me, I tried. But even when I was physically there I wasn’t mentally. 5 minutes in and I’d be running through my to-do list, wondering how long before I could sneak away, and reaching for my phone.
I felt so guilty and lost about how to build a relationship with my daughter when I hated doing the only thing she seemed to want to do.
2. Identify what you are good at and enjoy doing together.
I wanted to solve this problem and I began to notice a pattern.
It wasn’t playing that Emi wanted, it was Me.
If we spent time together reading a book, baking cookies, or painting she’d happily soak up all that mom time and then be happy to go off and play by herself, at least for a little while.
And guess what? While I hate playing, I love reading books, baking cookies, and exploring art together.
So I stopped trying to “play” with Emi. That’s it, I just don’t do it.
Instead I started searching for activities we could do together anytime she asks for attention.
3. develop go-to mommy + me activities.
At first, I started pinning to my “Toddler Crafts & Activities board” like crazy. There were a lot of good ideas but it felt really disjointed and I felt guilty spending so much money on one-off activities. Most of them stayed stuck in the inspiration and idea phase.
I realized I wanted something structured. An easy, done-for-you, way to integrate fun activities into our daily lives.
The Play based curriculum of my dreams!
Since I already knew I wanted to preschool Emi at home (even before COVID hit) I started looking at preschool curriculums. I knew I wanted something that had an emphasis on children’s literature and play-based learning. The Homegrown Preschoolers “A Year of Playing Skillfully” was the perfect fit!
Since their curriculum is divided by months and we were still in the summer months I started with “A Summer of Playing Skillfully” We did it this way so 1) we could start immediately while still following the schedule and 2) we could give the curriculum a trial run before making the larger investment for the whole year.
I’m completely hooked!
Even though we only had one week left in July I jumped right in and crammed as much playing skillfully fun in that week as we could. If you’d like to see all the activities we did and memories we made head on over to the “Our First Week of A Summer of Playing Skillfully” post.
My favorite thing about this curriculum is that it will work for moms looking to homeschool AND for moms who just want a structured and productive way to play with their kids. The learning activities truly are play-based but allow us to have conversations about new concepts like the different states of water, melting, using our talents, measuring, etc.
If this curriculum isn’t for you, that’s okay! Work on collecting some go-to activities to do with your kids anytime they ask you to play, and always keep the supplies on hand.
Pinterest is a great way to get ideas, just make sure you eventually stop pinning and start DOING.
Some inspiration to get you started:
- Sensory Bins (Kinetic Sand, Mud/Water Kitchen Sensory Table, Water Beads, Rice/Beans, etc.) Check out this Easy DIY $25 Sensory Table Tutorial!
- Read Books
- Do chores (believe me, they want to help!)
- Arts & Crafts Projects
- Kid-friendly volunteer opportunities
- Kid science experiments
- Bake/make something
- Invest in quality kids games you won’t hate playing
4. Don’t take on the role of entertainer. Let your kids be bored & play independently
Please don’t read this and think it’s your job as a mom to entertain your kids. It’s not.
The last thing you should do is keep your kids busy with these activities all the time.
Kids need independent time to make-believe and learn how to entertain themselves. And moms need independent time to relax and regroup.
By having these go-to mommy + me activities planned and using them to spend quality time together each day, you’ll also feel more confident and guilt-free when you tell your kids “its time to
leave mommy alone” I mean “have some independent playtime.”
I also feel empowered when Emi tells me “I’m bored” to put the responsibility back on her and invite her to solve her boredom problem on her own.
Share your favorite go-to mommy + me activities you do with your kids in the comments and share with a friend who needs to know it’s okay and what to do when you hate playing with your kids.