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What do you do when your kid doesn't know how to entertain himself?

Mine is an only but I get him out to see other kids. Sometimes we're home and he's always looking for me to entertain him. Don't get me wrong. I take him places (bowling, ice skating, outings, etc.) and do stuff at home with him (read together, play games, cook/bake, etc.) but he expects me to do something with him all his waking hours. How would you deal with this? (oh yeah, he's 7, he should be able to find SOMEthing to do.)

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:59 AM on Dec. 16, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (8)
  • That is the trouble with an only child. My oldest is 8 years older than our 2nd. He was like that. Do you have a Play Station? He loved that!

    Answer by mompam at 12:04 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Mine were all able to entertain themselves for at least a short amount of time by their first birthday, and still do now that they're older...does he not read, or have any (gasp) video games like a Nintendo DS or anything? Give him some Legos and tell him to build something to surprise you, tell him you need 10 minutes to do something and he needs to play for 10 minutes, make something to surprise you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:21 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Start him with short amounts of time, 5-10 minutes, tell him he needs to find something to entertain himself for that short amount of time while you finish a chore. Once he can handle 5-10 minutes without bothering you, doing something useful, extend it by 5 minutes, and keep doing that. Try giving him specific things to do, or a list of a few things to choose from to do. You're going to have to ease him into it, get him used to it, just like with an infant/young toddler. I couldn't imagine having an 8 year old that can't entertain himself for a short amount of time.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:24 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • My oldest is 8. At this age, both of our sons should be able to entertain themselves! When mine gets bored and/or supposedly has "nothing to do!!" I take three steps:
    1.) ask HIM to suggest something to do. If he suggests something that won't work, ask him to try again. With practice, he'll get better.
    2.) give him two or three suggestions. Legos are GREAT at this age; arts & crafts are good too because he's old enough to do most things himself. My 8-yr-old loves cuttings things up with scissors & gluing them together to make "secret messages" lol.
    3.) tell him that if he can't think of anything, he is free to sit on the couch and stare at the wall - or worse, do chores - until he decides what to do. Then follow through ;)

    PS Also there are some chores my son enjoys. On special occasions, I let him mop the floor... he doesn't do the greatest job, but he has fun & it's cleaner than if it hadn't been mopped at all!

    Answer by SAHM_USAF at 12:45 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • My four year old has this issue. An only child. Play dates help. Having friends at our home helps ease the time between visits. And I explain, explain, and explain. We have tons of time together and love hanging out using our imagination. But there are many times it is time to do our own things in the house. To which he gets a little frustrated about. I assist him by asking him to pick between two activities. Then I say: wow. Younplayed by yourself and you had a good time. I point out the advantages of free play without someone else to interfere. There are some. But I do have to remind him that I need some time to get things done. He can help sometimes. Other times not so much. It helps to have some suggestions for him. In our house we don't have a television where he can watch. So he really has to do some self entertaining.

    Answer by frogdawg at 1:21 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • I have a 4.5 year old only child. He entertaines himself. I have encouraged that though. Plus, he is like my husband and me. We all need down time to recharge.

    Answer by Mom2Just1 at 8:35 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Make sure he has things that he can do on his own, games that don't require 2 or more people, etc . . .

    Answer by Pnukey at 10:01 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • My son is an only and is very independent, I guess I got lucky. lol

    Answer by KTMOM at 5:39 PM on Dec. 22, 2010

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