Saturday, March 03, 2007

To entertain or not, that is the question

Over on the Ora Et Labora board (see sidebar for link), a new homeschooling mom asked:

"Here is my problem, I feel that I can do the homeschooling part. I actually look forward to it and enjoy learning with my dd. My problem is she is almost 5, so we do about 45 minutes of lessons per day, but I have trouble filling it the rest of the time. We do some coloring, playdoh, playing, but it seems like a lot of work to keep my 2 kids (almost 5 and 3) entertained for the whole day. Besides the fact that I have other work to do around the house. The days seem so long sometimes especially recently, everyone is sick and we have barely left the house. All this time, I was so worried about the homeschooling aspect, but I am finding that it is filling in the rest of the time that is the difficulty.Any advice?"
Aha-ha! I knew there was one aspect of parenting that I am an authority on- the ability to keep kids from saying, "I'm bored!"
Occasionally I will play tea party or train with my kids, but not often. My title is "Mommy", not "Playmate". I tickle them, read to them, indulge in practical jokes, provide schooling, and create a learning-rich enviroment filled with art supplies, puzzles, games, and interesting books. They get to learn, play, create, and help out when I ask. It seems like an even trade, though I would like a bit more help with the laundry.
My children are not allowed to be bored- I provide 4 playmates for them all day and they must keep each other occupied and entertained.
Obviously there is a balance between being at the mercy of preschoolers and being a totally hands-off parent who doesn't want to play at all with her children. But I have managed to be a fun mommy who will play airplane (lie on my back and let a child fly on my feet), and one who can bring a 7 year old to a hospital room for 2 hours and not have her say, "This is boring!" a single time. (she sat and started re-reading BFG)
The single piece of advice I can give is to teach, and sometimes demand, that your children learn to entertain themselves. It will help them and you many times over in the next 20 years.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Sounds right.

You could add that another way to get that household work done is to teach the little homescholars to do it.

Our ds was very interested in learning how the washer operated, and has been know to fix it when it was broken!

Milehimama said...

I don't entertain my littlies either.
Their toys are on open shelves. They know what to do.
Mostly, they follow me around and do what I do.
Give them some stuff to do and ignore them. The real problem comes later, when they start FINDING stuff to do on their own... with Dad's tools... and the cat... LOL

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