How to Encourage 8 Year Old Girl to Spend More Time in Her Room

Updated on December 26, 2011
S.B. asks from Cape Coral, FL
20 answers

My daughter is an only child. She is not that much into toys or dolls and as she gets older spends less time "playing" by herself. Its usually some kind of technology thing when she is by herself: computer, ipad, gameboy etc. This weekend, we weeded out some old toys and clothes to make extra room for her bedroom, re arranged her furniture, painted one wall. She also got christmas money to decorate her room. I talked with her about what she wants to use her room for, encouraging her that this is HER space and it would be great if she would spend more time in it. My question is--- what does your little girl do in her room? is there a chair, bean bag, etc? She doesn't read books on her own (I wish she would). I want it to her HER space and she likes the idea but I don't know how to create it for her and looking for ideas what other families do.

Side note- I love every minute i spend with my kid. However I can not be her playmate every minute that we are home. She has friends that do come over, im not trying to isolate her. Maybe my question should be "at what age does your girl spend more time in her room"?

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answers from Washington DC on

We used to set a puzzle on the dining room table. The kids would go in and work on it when they were bored. I didn't tell my children to spend time in their rooms. I'd much rather they spend it in the family room. We play games, watch TV, do crafts, whatever...
My daughter - 16 - likes to read and will spend time in her room reading or playing her nintendo ds. There are no computers or internet accessible items in the bedrooms.. that's just trouble.
Sometimes my daughter will read or do homework in the family room while I putter in the kitchen. (The rooms are separated by an island.) She is with me, but still gives me space.
Enjoy the fact that she likes to be with you... they grow up too fast.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Don't wish her into her room this early! They do that soon enough, and then you will wish she weren't holed up! My older son never stayed in his room. My younger son, who is 16, started this about 9 months ago. Believe me, I don't want to do anything to make that room more inviting!

I would not be letting her play so much computer or tech stuff. Put a limit on it and get her to work with you in the kitchen, doing homework close by you, reading books, etc.


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answers from Canton on

Not going to happen unless you get her fun work project to do and even then.....nope. She likes you; your doomed! (smile)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Why do you want her to spend more alone time?

She is a social being. She is in school most of the day and so she likes being around people.

When she comes home she wants to be with her family.

This is why we have living rooms.
There can be a game table in there for her to do puzzles to play board games.. maybe some projects.

Is she into crafts?.. Maybe do a craft or project table so she can draw, paint etc in her room.

Our daughter hardly ever spent a tremendous time alone in her room, except when she became a teen.

I was the same way. I liked being around the action in the house. Not isolated in my room.

When I became a teen I stayed in my room to talk on my princess phone for hours at a time.. Notice... not alone but on the phone. .

As she gets older she will be texting, online, or reading. But at 8 she wants to be around people. Can you invite some of her friends over? That is also a way for her to spend time in her room.

How much time do you spend in your room all day? I am only in mine when I sleep.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My only child, daughter will turn 17 tomorrow. She has the entire upstairs of the house. If a kitchen was up there, we'd probably never see her, LOL

She has been raised around a lot of people, lot of playdates... My house has always been full of children. They love to come here and I love having them because I know how I make sure they are not into anything bad. Now with this age, I still often have a house full of teens and I love it.

I've never been her "playmate" but we do a lot of things together such as cooking, we keep a puzzle on a game table upstairs and work on it as a family, she loves crafts, sewing and creating things so she has what she needs to do that as well. We communicate a LOT and do a lot together. She thrives on responsibility and her independence so I encourage that by giving her responsibilities.

I never expected her to stay in her room. As she has grown older, she does spend more time in her area (all upstairs) with her homework, projects, computer, gaming system, reading,boy friend, friends, etc. Actually, right now I find myself missing her a bit because she is doing more alone upstairs preparing for college, etc. She'll be off to college before I know it.

It is all a balance. Yes children need to be able to entertain themselves but they also need to interact with adults, especially parents and other children.

Your daughter is just 8... Engage with her, encourage playdates at your house. It won't be long and you'll wish she was spending more time with you and not in her "space" alone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Why do you want her to be alone in her room? Maybe it's not that she dislikes the space, but dislikes the being alone. My DD plays most of the time in other rooms, even though she might spend time in her room as well. She's in the kitchen right now, doing her own thing, but in the same area as me. My stepkids will often read on the couch, even if they aren't actively interacting with us. When they spend a lot of time in their rooms, we feel disconnected.

If you just want her to entertain herself, I'd find out things for her to do (crafts, solo games, reading) that may or may not be limited to her room. My DD can entertain herself with play dough for a very long time, but she does so in the kitchen with me. Somewhere around 11 my SD spent more time in her room, but not nearly so much as now. Now there are nights we barely see her thanks to a web-enabled phone (not my purchase!)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

embrace & rejoice in her while you have day, you will dearly miss her company. She needs to be with you....not alone in her room!

One of my Mom's friends gave me the best compliment: she said that she always felt as if my home was the most comfortable of all of her girls (both her own daughters & her friends'). She said that she knew there'd be dishes, both clean/dirty, in the sink. She knew she'd see a pile/basket of laundry somewhere..waiting to be put away. & she knew that there would be toys all over our living space. She also applauded & appreciated the fact that I always allowed/embraced having our sons in the room with us....& she was quite vocal with her own daughters over this!

Fast forward 20+ years, & she's still telling the same stories! Always about how I loved having my kids with me & that it was more important than having an "adult" living room.

Soooo, here's my thoughts on your DD: yes, she needs a chair (+ a desk). Yes, she needs to take charge of the decor. Sit down with her & hit HGTV & Better Homes/Gardens websites. Search for both "children's & teen rooms" to get decor ideas. Lots of fun, cool ideas out there!

AND take away the electronics....or limit her time with them. My method is: you have to be outside, actively doing something....before any electronics are turned on. With my son, we've gone whole days without electronics because of this rule! With your DD, perhaps a few hobbies &/or crafts would pull her into a "new" day....or maybe even into a book!

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answers from Dallas on

I have two boys, and they are never in their rooms. We don't want them to be. They are 7 and 14, and they keep their things (toys/books) in their rooms, but they bring them to the living room or kitchen to use them. We encouraged that from the time they were little.

I didn't want them to become teenagers (or tweens) that lived in their rooms that we never saw, so early on we tried to instill habits that encouraged family interaction. Of course they are welcome to go to their rooms when they want privacy, but most of the time they prefer being with the family, and I love that. Now, even our teenage son prefers hanging out with us rather than being alone in his room. I love that.

Your daughter's room sounds lovely, and I hope things work out the way you want them to. These are just things to think about.

ETA: I just read what you added, and I know you aren't trying to isolate your daughter. :) As far as what age they spend more time in their room, they don't. When our boys have friends come over, sometimes they go to their rooms, and sometimes they play in the living room. It depends on what they want to do. They don't have TV/Computer in their rooms, so they use the living room for that. Other toys/games are in their rooms. They play outside a lot - we live on a small farm.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

In my experience, kids will spend more time in their room when they need or want to, especially as teens. As long as it's a comfortable, comforting space that's there when they need it, don't sweat it beyond that.

One caution: my husband and I have never allowed televisions or computers in our daughters' room. For the older girls (now 30+), we also kept phones out (much harder now in the era of portable home phones and cell phones). Especially as they grow older, if they have everything in heir rooms, you see kids less & less with their families -- and lose touch with them more & more. We also wouldn't let food in there for years but that's more about cleanliness than family sociability.

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answers from Philadelphia on

They dont spend much time in their room. One of my teens does occasionally. My 10 year old will for 10 minutes here and there. My kids are usually in the living area with us. I dont want to encourage them to spend time in their room. If they are playing/chilling/napping in there, that is fine but not for hours. I dont think that is healthy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

My older daughter did not spend more time in her room until the younger one was strolling around and getting in her hair.

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answers from Chicago on

Kids/people don't like to sit in their room by themselves. The only time I remember my daughter in her room was when she was on the phone or doing homework & that was only when she couldn't concentrate. But eight is very young to encourage to spend more time in her own room.

Maybe you can get bins of craft stuff for her to do. She is at such a great age to have simple crafts ready so when she needs something to do she can just pull it out and sit on the floor or table. Get her magazines (that is a form of reading) to read instead of books. Barbie fashion drawing crafts. Painting supplies. Oven bake or kids cook books. I suggest encouraging her to be creative rather than sit in her room. She should also have some chores.

I was a single mom when my daughter was 3-13. We never spent time in our rooms by ourselves. We were joined at the hip. When I was cleaning she joined in. When I was cooking dinner, she was sitting at the table doing her homework. If I was reading a book she was sitting me reading a book or magazine or playing on her DS.

One day you will *lose* your daughter. Mine is away at college (21) & she calls or texts constantly. As much as she wants to be home she can't, she misses being home.

Personally I wouldn't encourage her to sit in her room alone, especially if she doesn't want to. Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My kids only go to their rooms to sleep or be alone, meaning be away from each other. Or if they've done something that I'm unhappy about, which is about twice a year, and I yell, "Go to your room."

Otherwise, we are always together in the kitchen, living room or dining room. We have a big basement where they hang out with friends, Wii and ping pong table.

I understand your post, in that you want to make it inviting for her to spend time in there. That will happen in her teens and when her body starts to change. You're going about it the right way in asking for her input about colors and likes.

Oh, my 9 year old built a fort in her room...that keeps her occupied for a while. And I do not take it down.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have an "only" 9 year-old daughter. We live in a one-bedroom apartment, so there's not a lot of space. We are usually in the same room, and I like that. We do homework together on the kitchen table, or I work at the desk in the livingroom while she plays or watches TV. We share a bedroom. She is capable of entertaining herself quite well, just not too often does she seek out a separate space to do that.

At her dad's 3 bedroom house, she is more likely to go to her room, or a different room, but still not often.

It sounds like you are more concerned about your daughter's inability to entertain herself. Eight is a good time to try out new hobbies. My daughter has started knitting, just got some pet mice, and has started to read more on her own. She isn't very interested in electronic toys (yay!). I would suggest encouraging her to try some new things. Maybe go to a store like Michael's and explore the options for crafts and activities. Or have her help do whatever you're doing.

I've raised two children into their 20s and when they start to spend more time in their rooms alone, you will miss their company. If they spend too much time alone, then it's time to worry about them.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My girls spend time in their rooms if their space is clean and tidy. Then it is comfortable and relaxing. If it is a mess (as is often the case) it's a huge stressor to be in the room with that. They avoid being in their rooms if they are even somewhat messy. Human nature. I'm the same way. People are just attracted to a clean space. If I clean the basement family room, suddenly, everyone wants to hang out there. I think if you remove a good deal of clutter and stuff, and help her keep it pristine, it will be a place she will enjoy.

Also, music. A little CD player/radio or Ipod docking station speaker of her own for her room so she can play her own music.

A desk. For her to do homework, puzzles, craft projects, doodles, scrapbooking, painting nails, or whatever.

Cozy chair for reading. I know you said she doesn't read, but doesn't she at least have reading time required at home for school on a regular basis? If not, you can at least pick up some tween magazines like Discovery Girls or American Girl. They have fun quizzes, and short articles. Or maybe some other puzzle books.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't worry about her sitting in her room alone, that will happen.
If she is underfoot, get her some craft project she can work on at the kitchen table. Painting, beads, sticker projects.
Sign her up for some sort of park district or free class at the library if money is an issue.
I'm sure its been posted if you have lots to do kids are great helpers, thye love to pitch in if encouraged properly.
Usually if they are out of sight for too long, that is when I worry not the opposite!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I never spent time in my room and neither do my kids. I always played outside and so do my girls. I have only beds in the rooms because I encourage them to keep their room a place of rest. They do have books in there and also some downstairs. They play on their own quite a bit in the yard or sitting at the table doing art projects while I am doing something else. They have their toys downstairs but most of their toys are outside toys. We have family reading time in the evenings on the couch so we are all reading, either on our own or to each other. If they aren't interested in reading they are at least watching us read and it is a habit. I wasn't an only child but my one brother was fairly younger than me and we moved a lot so I would say I spent a lot of time alone from time to time. I was a big reader but other than that my favorite things to do were art projects and playing in the yard and practicing for dance class, none of which I did in my room. I also loved helping mom out if I could do it with her. I don't remember spending time in my room at all except to read/sleep. We even had our school desks downstairs growing up. We were always in the family room playing/ reading/ drawing and painting or doing school work, usually supervised from a distance by Mom in the kitchen. If we weren't there we were outside. She is probably bored alone in a bedroom. I know I would be!

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answers from Chicago on

I know what you're saying. You're not saying you don't want to spend time with her, you're saying that there are times you need to get stuff done and it's easier if she wasn't constantly underfoot, demanding your attention. I have a 10 year old "only" and I know what you mean.

Sometimes they just want to be in your space. So get her involved in doing things that she can be occupied with while being by you. Often I will just be honest. "Mommy needs to do XYZ right now, and I'd love to have you nearby but I can't help you because I'm busy. So what can you do out here that you don't need my help with?" If I don't say that, she will call me over every 5 minutes to help her. She likes doing craft projects and drawing and coloring, so they are perfect for doing at the kitchen table while I'm cleaning or doing laundry.

I think you've done right about making her space her own. We made a Barbie area in her closet that she can make a Barbie house and not have to take it down and put it away. She likes to play Barbies in her room alone.

You just have a social kid. You can't change that, even if you put amazing stuff in her room! So let her be by you, just help her occupy herself with something other than electronics. You never know, a new hobby may develop!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I have an only so I KNOW what you mean. I changed the playroom and put the toys she likes the best out all around the room. She doesn't have to pick them up everytime, except to leave a path. Their is Barbie town, the house area, and the art area. That is what finally got her to play there instead of constantly being under foot.

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answers from St. Louis on

The only time my daughter spends in her room is reading or playing on her computer, otherwise she is all over us. She is just too social for solitary activities.

You may just have to accept you have a social creature as well. :)

Oh, just an FYI since I have older kids, around fifteen or sixteen they never leave their rooms, then you will be wishing she came out more. You have probably heard this before but it really is true, enjoy the time you have while you are still the center of their universe, it really does run out quickly.

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