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Weekend's with an only child - AGHH!


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#1 Satay Chicken

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:27 PM

DS is four next month - he attends daycare two days a week and a preschool another two days a week.  He loves both centres and has lots of friends and is a very happy little boy - could eat better but that's a different topic...

DS however is extremely full on and needs our attention ALL THE TIME.....  weekends are a nightmare, we just don't know what to do with him - we get him out early in the morning, play at the park, shopping, a drive, brunch but the afternoons are a nightmare.  We are in our 40's and are exhausted, even just to have an hour sit down in the afternoon would be awesome.  (DS dropped his day sleep about 5 months ago so we have been treated with breaks over the weekend up until then so a presume its been a bit harder for us to adjust).

But I really am just wondering - is there any way to make weekends easier?  I know there is sport etc, we can do that but jeez, sitting in a frickin park at 4pm on a Sunday arvo is a killer ...  DH works full time, I work part time but have 2 hour commutes each way four days a week so we get very tired.

Is this an only child thing or is this everyones weekend?????? I'm not whinging BTW, I genuinely would like to know if weekends for everyone are just crap???

#2 Paddlepop

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:33 PM

That's not an only child thing IMO.

#3 MumOfThreenager

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:37 PM

Pretty typical for an only child!

Ours with Mr 3 were similar until recently, when we caved in and allowed lots of TV in the afternoon. He hasn't had a day sleep for about a year.

We are out each weekend morning, then home for lunch, TV for him and nap for me, then usually energetic play at home in the arvo while one parent cooks dinner. Sometimes we have his friends over for play dates which are a lot of fun but equally tiring.

Our son loves to be involved in housework so we sometimes do that together, although it's much easier and faster without his help :)

#4 Sparklemax

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:40 PM

I don't see how having more than one child will change the fact that your ds still needs your attention?

We have a 5 yr old and weekends are similar to what you describe but we also see friends/family on a regular basis so that dd also gets attention from/interacts with others. Takes the pressure off us always having to 'entertain' her.

Edited by Sparklemax, 19 March 2017 - 08:42 PM.


#5 joeyinthesky

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:41 PM

Does he play independently at all? Duplo/lego, trains and magnatiles are all activities that nearly 4yo will play with for an hour or more here. Having said that, when I was working more (currently mat. Leave) he really needed downtime with one of us for a significant time doing something together before he was able to then play independently. By downtime I  mean at home doing something of his choosing together and really allowing the focus to be totally on him, no distractions.

#6 WallyWoo

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:43 PM

It gets easier as they get older. After a full week at work, 2 year old DS almost pushes me over the edge, but 4 year old DD can happily entertain herself for hours. I feel guilty about doing this as I work full time and long hours so probably should be doing more with the kids, but we tend to watch a movie in bed Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

#7 MumOfThreenager

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:44 PM

View PostSparklemax, on 19 March 2017 - 08:40 PM, said:

I don't see how having more than one child will change the fact that your ds still needs your attention?

There is a difference between loving attention (which all kids need) for some hours each day, and being the only young person in the house, thus needing your parents to play with you the whole time.

#8 joeyinthesky

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:46 PM

Also,  I'm still lucky enough that DS has an hour's afternoon sleep most days but as he drops that (I think he's working on it) he will still have a rest time in his room playing quietly instead of the sleep. Listening to music, audio books etc.

Ny chance you could instigate that to get a short break?

#9 Satay Chicken

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:46 PM

View PostSparklemax, on 19 March 2017 - 08:40 PM, said:

I don't see how having more than one child will change the fact that your ds still needs your attention?

We have a 5 yr old and weekends are similar to what you describe but we also see friends/family on a regular basis so that dd also gets attention from/interacts with others. Takes the pressure off us always having to 'entertain' her.


I spose I thought may be having siblings might take the pressure of a little bit - although I know this brings all sorts of other issues into it...

On family - I should have also mentioned that we have no family around so we never have the option of grandparents dropping by or going to them.  I have a brother, he and his wife have an only also who is 8 months older than DS, would love to see them more but they don't want to see us all that much... :(

#10 LUV-MY-KIDS

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:48 PM

That is called being a parent.  It goes with the job tittle and it last oh about 18years.  Different challenges at different ages.

Edited by LUV-MY-KIDS, 19 March 2017 - 08:49 PM.


#11 .Jerry.

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

I have an only and at that age she could play by herself quite happily.
We did lots to keep busy, but I rarely played with her at home. I would rather gouge my eyes out than play.  DD got used to playing on her own, but nearby to us.  She didn't like to be far away.

I had drawing/painting area set up; blocks available; tubs of toys etc.
Mind you, I also allowed her to watch TV.  There's a reason that was invented. ;)

#12 MumOfThreenager

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

View Postjoeyinthesky, on 19 March 2017 - 08:41 PM, said:

he really needed downtime with one of us for a significant time doing something together before he was able to then play independently. By downtime I  mean at home doing something of his choosing together and really allowing the focus to be totally on him, no distractions.

Yeah, we find this too. The less attention DS gets from us during the week, the more he craves it on weekends.

#13 Morally Bankrupt

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

Haha it's not my weekend for sure, that would freak me out!

I don't have an only child but I am an only child and I can only suggest lots and lots and outdoor stuff to wear him out. I don't do sports either but maybe weekend morning team things, soccer, karate, swimming etc then maybe afternoons set up a few different things to swap around (lego then play dough, water things then bubbles, painting etc) so introduce to independent play instead of always having you as a fulltime playmate.

Easier said than done sometimes I know, best of luck!

#14 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:50 PM

Swimming in the afternoons?
We go out with our bikes and DS in a trailer or trail a bike along cycle paths to have lunch, play on a playground and back.
Trips to the zoo etc.
Tag team, one adult has a nap or rest and then switch.

#15 Satay Chicken

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:54 PM

View Postjoeyinthesky, on 19 March 2017 - 08:41 PM, said:

Does he play independently at all? Duplo/lego, trains and magnatiles are all activities that nearly 4yo will play with for an hour or more here. Having said that, when I was working more (currently mat. Leave) he really needed downtime with one of us for a significant time doing something together before he was able to then play independently. By downtime I  mean at home doing something of his choosing together and really allowing the focus to be totally on him, no distractions.


We encourage him to play independently, have set up a play room right next to our living room so he is always part of the action so to speak. This afternoon we build a train track together then I encouraged him to do his trains, thing is he needs me to watch him and wants me (or DH) involved in his play, needs us to look all the time (a train goes on its side and we have to check it out).  If we don't he whinges.....

I do also give him lots of one on one time, we have a special place on our stairs where we sit and talk about our day - we also read a lot together.  I do dedicate myself to him 100% multiple times a day for a good amount of time...

I don't know..... I spose the days are just so long at the moment.....  :(

Edited by Satay Chicken, 19 March 2017 - 08:57 PM.


#16 fascinated

Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:56 PM

Do you have friends with kids of similar ages that can play together?

#17 Lou-bags

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:05 PM

I think you might need to let him whinge a bit and get used to independent play....

Start with smaller times (like 15 min even) and work up.

It's a great skill for him, and equally important for him to see that you need to put yourselves and your needs first some times.

Also, TV. 😀

#18 AlmondButter

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:14 PM

Our weekends with DS1 (recently turned 4) were like this until fairly recently but things are getting better lately so hopefully you will find it gets easier soon. He was an only child until we had DS2 late last year. We used to spend lots of time at the park & tag team all weekend to survive. I can relate to being in the park at 4pm on Sunday. It's exhausting!

I think now he's a little older it has become better as he's more able to play independently. We use the TV sparingly during the week so that we can splurge a bit on it on the weekend too if needs be. Often we will put on a movie on a weekend afternoon so that we all get a bit of downtime.

When I was pregnant last year it was so tiring, especially the afternoons. I found a few activities that DS liked to do & would be happy playing for a while & where I could sit with a cup of tea & not do much - drawing with chalk on the sidewalk out the front, playing in a wading pool, playing with duplo, colouring in together, doing puzzles together. Is there anything like that your DS likes to do? To get true downtime when DH wasn't home I did have to switch on the TV, though :)

#19 Pip_longstockings

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:16 PM

I have two children, and they will play independently but I need to step in frequently to put out fires.

What we do is meet up with friends with children similar ages. We go to parks, put out rugs, we sit down, catch up and the kids run around like looneys. We take in turns to watch them. We might go to parks with BBQ and have dinner, take it in turns to cook sausages, rolls and salads. Kids have a ball and we can sit and relax. We might even take it in turns to go for a walk or do a yoga lesson why the rest of the parents look after the kids. We have kids in our friendship group with only children.

I do have family near by but my parents don't drive so we don't rely on them. The kids prefer catching up with kids anyway.

I also think you need to train you kids to play independently. My kids can now play for hours, we just worked up from 15 minutes as PP suggested. Its is great for imagination.

#20 Silver Girl

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:17 PM

It is full on. I second the idea of a quiet time. We had a Gro Clock and in the afternoons we would set it and say DS had to quietly read or play in his room until the clock face turned yellow (would be about 45 minutes).

It allowed us to have a nap ourselves. Or DH and I would tag team for our own naps/quiet time.

I remember when DS was a preschooler and we were in the Post Office. The young woman at the counter hung up the phone and sighed, saying she had to work again that weekend. "That's 4 weeks without a sleep in", she said.

I was so tempted to comment that I hadn't had a sleep in for 4 years.

#21 gabbigirl

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:19 PM

Play dates. Or pay a teenager in your neighbourhood to come over and either babysit or play with him.

#22 Pip_longstockings

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:19 PM

As a side, they will play together but more often than not will play on their own. Duplo, Lego, dressing up, cars, train tracks, my kids will play for hours with cars and a Jenga set.

#23 Brutta Borgia

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:22 PM

It's not an only child thing IMO - it's a child specific thing - comes with the territory unfortunately I think - although it can get better over time. I hear you though - it's exhausting.

#24 AnythingGoes

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:22 PM

View Postjoeyinthesky, on 19 March 2017 - 08:46 PM, said:

Also,  I'm still lucky enough that DS has an hour's afternoon sleep most days but as he drops that (I think he's working on it) he will still have a rest time in his room playing quietly instead of the sleep. Listening to music, audio books etc.

Ny chance you could instigate that to get a short break?

I remember that being my plan too...

For the OP my only child 4.5 yr old DS has never really been that into toys/lego/trains - much prefers imaginative type play that involves other people - so I get where you are coming from. However he is gradually spending more time on his own.

I did what a PP suggested and started small - I'll come when I finish cleaning kitchen /having coffee and just dragged it out.

#25 SplashingRainbows

Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:26 PM

Whinging won't hurt him op.

I think it is totally reasonable to expect at least a half hour for independent play at that age. Yes you may have to work up from say 15 minutes but I do believe it's a valuable skill that he should learn.




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