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I struggle with giving DS attention

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#1 epl0822

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:28 PM

As a parent I know it's crucial to give my toddler DS lots of attention and play with him. I have really struggled with this since he was a baby. My DH seems like a natural and can spend hours playing with him. It doesn't come natural to me and I just....don't enjoy it. I know it sounds awful and I hate to admit this to myself but that is how I feel.

I really have to make a conscious effort to spend time with DS. Sometimes I sit down to play with him or build blocks or read together and a few minutes later I think hmmmm...now what? Even when I put in a lot of effort it still feels awkward and unnatural and....honestly, tedious. I find it a lot easier when there is another adult interacting with him and I join in. I've been taking him to playgroups and music lessons so we spend more time doing stuff together but when we're at home I feel lost.

I feel guilty because I feel like I'm not doing enough. I feel guilty because I should enjoy this and I don't. I feel guilty because I should be naturally good at this as a parent and I'm not. I actually feel relieved when DH comes home because I know DS is getting so much more stimulation and play than what I'm capable of.

Does anyone else feel the same way? Anybody have advice for me?

#2 Suz01

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:38 PM

I feel the same way. DH can repeatedly play the same games over and over. From boo to tickling, to reading stories to rocking bubs to sleep. I'm a clock watcher. Is it that they get less time as they work, so they make the most of it? I found when I was working full time our relationship was much better.

#3 Bluestocking

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:38 PM

I also find it really boring playing with the kids. Honestly, I don't stress  about it. My parents didn't spend hours on the floor with me and I turned out ok. I was great at entertaining myself which is an important skill. I chat with my kids a lot, that's how I give them attention.

I think this is just another one of those areas us mothers feel guilty about, unnecessarily IMO.

#4 Kay1

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:41 PM

Maybe find something you can do parallel to each other, like drawing, painting, stamps etc. Reading books where you find things etc. Some people are just not good at getting down and silly and that's ok.

Do you roll a ball to him and have him roll it back? Things like that.

Its definitely easier when they can play games.

#5 Paddlepop

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:42 PM

It sounds like your DS is getting lots of stimulation from other people and sources so perhaps you could view your time at home with him as giving him some quiet time/downtime and allowing him to learn how to play independently and amuse himself.

Don't feel guilty. Toddler games can be really boring.

#6 erindiv

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:44 PM

I'm the same with my two. DS is at a particularly frustrating stage where he will play happily alone but if I'm nearby he just whines and tries to climb onto my head. I just let him be. I figure he is learning better when he's not hanging off me anyway.

#7 cinnabubble

Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

I doubt most of our parents spent hours deliberately stimulating our brains, yet we managed to grow and develop. I wouldn't worry too much.

#8 SnazzyFeral

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:01 PM

I find playing blocks ect boring after a few seconds lol. I put on radio national so that I can keep myself entertained but still pay attention to DS. It doesn't always work but I have learned a lot about Jewish Philosophy lately while building block towers only to have them knocked down and commanded on pain of tantrum to do it again. You find it boring because it is, don't feel bad about it.

#9 Feral_Pooks

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:13 PM

We spend time together, I do my thing, he does his. When we "play", it is spontaneous and genuine and I truly enjoy it. I realise he's otherwise on his own a lot so I do try to keep him stimulated, but that doesn't have to mean me playing with him. I figure he is going to have to get used to entertaining himself. Tv helps sometimes too. I know, I know. But it does. And music. Or even just shifting his location. Sitting in a different part of the backyard. Today he explored my bedroom and it was heaps of fun for him, I sat on the bed folding socks and stuff, and would talk to him or pass him something to look at.

#10 katrina24

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:25 PM

I wouldn't stress too much. Sounds like he gets lots of adult play time from other sources.  Perhaps your one:one time could be more like cooking together, going to the park, going to organised activities like library story times, play groups, music or dance classes (you're already doing one of these), doing puzzles, reading books etc. even going shopping together and having a chat is good.  You don't have to be great at everything, particularly if you have a partner that balances you out (I'm sure there are lots of things you do for your DS that your DH is either no good at or doesn't enjoy).

#11 libbylu

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:27 PM

I really hated toddler games too.  At that age what is more important is the conversation though.....as long as you are talking to him a lot, whether it be while you are doing chores around the house or when you are out and about - pointing things out about the world, naming things, etc, then you will give him lots of stimulation.
I agree it is more fun when you can play card games together, do challenging puzzles etc.
I think its fine to do what you are doing - take him out lots, music classes etc.  I used to put on music at home and have a dance, go to the local library, take him on bike rides etc.

#12 Frau Farbissina

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:27 PM

So what are you doing at home if you aren't specifically doing something toddler fun related? If you are together, I am sure that he is still happy to simply be in your company and interact with you on other levels.
If you're in separate rooms and not talking for hours on end, then yes probably a problem. But day to day life is still time together and interaction and stimulation.

Going out to check the letterbox, watering the flowers, doing the vacuuming, eating lunch together, going for a drive somewhere and talking in the car about the things you see, mundane but still interactive  original.gif

#13 -Emissary-

Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

I hate sitting there and playing games with DS. I would happily lay next to him and read while he plays by himself. I would happily take him to the park and watch him play. I would happily take him shopping and to the movies.

But I can't sit there for hours playing games with his toys with him.

I do feel bad because I grew up loving playing with little kids. I used to love babysitting my little cousins and spending countless hours playing with them. I just completely grew out of that by the time I had DS.  sad.gif

#14 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:38 AM

I think how you are feeling is pretty common.  I know I felt that way especially when I was a full-time stay at home mum, mainly because it felt a little bit like groundhog day (doing the same things over and over again).

If you are together, I am sure that he is still happy to simply be in your company and interact with you on other levels.
If you're in separate rooms and not talking for hours on end, then yes probably a problem. But day to day life is still time together and interaction and stimulation.

Going out to check the letterbox, watering the flowers, doing the vacuuming, eating lunch together, going for a drive somewhere and talking in the car about the things you see, mundane but still interactive

agree with this.

It went a LOT better when I started doing my OWN thing next to her (and now DS as well) like cross stitch, or writing or scrapbooking, whatever and she did her thing. All that was required of me was to chat while she played - SO MUCH EASIER!!  And more fun, which meant it went longer and we all bonded so much better!
this was the same for me.

Plus, getting them involved in what I was doing helped too.  Example, if lunch had to be prepared, I now get the kids to pull everything out of the fridge and I supervise them making sandwiches (or make up a plate of food of whatever).  I mention picnic lunch, they go nuts to get it ready.  They put a blanket on the lawn out the back, bring out half their stuffed toys, we have a picnic lunch out there with their toys, I have a long drink and a book to read, they are happily playing next to me. Win-Win!

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