6 And 8 Year Old Boys Will Not Self Play:(

Updated on June 26, 2011
N.T. asks from Macomb, MI
13 answers

Hi everyone,

Last week was the first week my boys were out of school. We have a newborn at home and to say it was a tough week for all of us would have been an understatement! The baby is fussy and wants to be held constantly. My boys were sooo bored. I am trying to give everyone attention and really struggling to do so. Any ideas/ suggestions on how to help my boys have a fun summer? By friday they were just laying around the house! MY husband said he had to play by himself all the time when he was a kid. I have made a mistake by always setting things up for them and playing with them a lot and now my husband is jokingly calling me the "entertainment committee". It kills me to see my kids bored but at the same time I can only do so much in a day.



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answers from Phoenix on

get a babypool, slip and slide or sprinklers set up for them in the mornings or evenings when it isn't so hot. Take them to a movie, get games and crafts that they can do by themselves. You can also take them to the library and have them pick out books etc. You can also order movies from the library for free. I order them online then pick them up when they're ready. Do you have a park with a splash pad? Or maybe the park is fine this time of year (it's too hot here...LOL)

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answers from Chicago on

Susan said it best.

I recommend a little TV watching in the morning and then it's TV off for the rest of the day. Turn on the radio. Go to the library and sign the kids up for summer reading - get some books so there is always something to read.

In my house, kids that have the cojones to tell me they are bored get put to work. The floors always need to be swept (especially that dirty garage)!

But please, stop making suggestions of what they can do. When they complain of being bored, either put them to work or say, "That really stinks. I hate being bored too. What are you going to do about it?"

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Some kids, only know how to do passive-entertainment.
ie: watching TV etc.

I tell my kids, "It is GOOD being bored, because then your brains can work. Get creative."

Don't make things for them to play with, challenge them to come up with things themselves. They are old enough.

ALSO, have them do chores and 'help' you. After all, it is THEIR home too and it behooves them to help in their home. They are not renters.
Make any chores, attainable for them. You don't have to pay them for it. It is a regular part, of helping... the 'family.' TEACH them that.

My daughter and son even help me wash the windows and screens. Clean and wipe. Do laundry. Put away stuff. Not only 'their' stuff.
They help me cook and wash dishes.

Some kids have to 'learn' to play independently.
Let them learn.
Don't do it for them.

If they are bored. Let them be bored.
Don't feel bad about it.
That is a learning process. For you and them.
Have them read.
Have them write. Just expressive writing.
It works the brain differently.
Have them draw.
These are basics.

all the best,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You have to get over your guilt and encourage them to think up activities for themselves, sitting around is not an option. Have them exercise, line up some chores for them to do, books to read (very good idea over the summer) give them some crayons, pencils & paper and go about your activities. It doesn't hurt them to be bored, it teaches them to think, be creative and act for themselves.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

For inside play - a box of random Legos is magic, the 8 yr old can certainly read to the 6 yr old.
A deck of cards isn't bad (if they can learn to play Go Fish, Crazy 8's or any number of easy card games).
For outside play - a sand pile (or box), a ball to kick around, a basketball hoop, sidewalk chalk.
When we were kids, if we were complaining about boredom we'd be sent to pick/collect dandelions from the lawn - our sitter would use them to make dandelion wine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Your kids are plenty old enough to play by themselves.
Surely they have cars, legos, puzzles. Give them a cardboard box and let them make a ramp for their cars or something. Clear off the kitchen table, give them some sheets that can be weighted with books and let them make a fort under the table.
I'll tell you....when my kids even said the word bored, I told them the garbage needed to be taken out, the floor could be swept, there was laundry to fold and put away, their rooms could be dusted.........
Sometimes, they actually just did it but usually they found something to entertain themselves real fast.

My kids were outside in the yard during the summer. Laying around inside being "bored" didn't get them anywhere with me.
The best thing you can do for you kids, in my opinion, is let them use their imaginations and find things to do.

Best wishes and congratulations on the new baby!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

This phrase I periodically whip out of my back pocket:

Boredom breeds creativity.

Shut off all the electronics for a week (TV, Videogames, Computer). Put a big smile on your face. And tell them to go play. Be prepared for the first day or two for lots of melodramatic "walking"/ "flopping".

The phrase : 'I'm bored' gets met with a chore that MUST be completed.

A fit (over chore, or boredom) means being banished to a bedroom for an hour or so.

A non fit/whine/boredom phrase equaling some version of "entertain me" gets met with the phrase "You need to turn on your imagination. We've got tons of stuff to do. I'm not gonna find it, or it won't be as much fun for you." :)

It can take a little while for their imaginations to turn back on after a whole durn year of being told what to do all day in school, and then what to do while they're home (because the time is limited, pure and simple).

We do a week long electronics ban periodically in our house (music/ ipods are allowed) whenever I start to notice kiddo going from TV to Computer to xBox to TV to Computer to... And we've also done 1 month long ban (punishment). ((Actually we have graduated punishment for throwing a fit about an electronic thing; either shutting it off, or not wanting to do anything else. Step 1 is ALL of that day and ALL of the next day. Step 2 is a week. Step 3 is 2 weeks. Step 4 is a month. Increased time comes from either continuing to throw fits over the punishment/ sneaking time/ or the same day or two after getting it back, another fit happens).

It's AMAZING how after a day or two their little brains just TURN ON again and they start coming up with stuff to do.

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answers from Hartford on

Have your boys sit down with you and make them brainstorm ideas for games and activities and put them all down on a list. Let them come up with the ideas. Make sure you have a craft kit, books, simple drawing paper and crayons, and rotate the toys that are available for them to play with. Make them responsible for the ideas, though. Keep each list weekly so that they can create new ideas or go back to ideas they really enjoyed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Hi N., I have to say I think the first week of summer vacation is a tough transition. Kids are simply not used to the days being so unstructured. I always hear the most whining that first week. If the sighing or whining gets too obnoxious, I send them to their rooms or outside, or suggest a chore that they can help out with if they have nothing else to do. My girls are 11 and 9. I am a SAHM. Here are some things we do in the summer. Tennis lessons in the morning, gets us up and out of the house, and in the company of other kids and Moms. We used to do swim lessons, but now we just buy a family season pass to our local pool. Again, we see tons of people from school and the neighborhood. I created my own summer reading incentive program and use the public library's little charts. The kids read and fill in the graphs. A good old fashion sprinkler and bag of water balloons will entertain for hours on a hot day. I've been known to buy puzzles, fairly cheap, for a cold day. If they are so bored with each other's company, give them the school directory and have them each call a friend to come over for a play date. It's not too early for them to be in charge of their own social lives, to some degree. Pretty soon if they reach out often enough. Other kids and Moms will be calling you and them to invite them out or over for some fun. I do allow some screen time during the day during activity transitions, but I do cut it off after I think they've had enough. Good luck! You're not alone. I find myself telling my kids "I'm not your entertainment committe" sometimes too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Send them outside! do not let them back in for hours. they will figure out how to entertain themselves



answers from Dallas on

Ah man, I feel your pain, I've been there!!!!! I've found that telling them to go do a specific task or fun thing helps. Just the other day my 7yo was literally just laying on the carpet in his room fiddling with his fingers above his head he was so bored. I told him I wanted him to draw me a picture of him swimming and he had to use a lot of colors then come show me. He immediately got up and went and did it then asked, "what's next?" so I told him to write me something about what he wanted to do today, he did it. I think it helped him to get his mind into creative mode because after the second assignment I gave him, I found him in his room building a "city" and playing.



answers from Houston on

My 8 year old is like this - comes to me constantly saying he is bored and wants to play the computer. He is allowed 2 hours a day in the holidays, after that he has to read, play toys or outside. I find if I say I'm so busy with the house, and if you're bored you can day A B or C to help me - he is gone outside in a flash!


answers from Dallas on

different personalities. my oldest always had to have a friend. My youngest could be alone for hours.

If you can afford it find a day camp or hire a high school student to help a couple of days a week.

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