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To Entertain or Not to Entertain…That is the Question!

May 17, 2010

How much do you feel you need to entertain your children?! It seems like I’m constantly in a push/pull scenario in my life. If I’m spending time with my children, I am not getting anything else done. If I’m doing something else, I feel guilty that I haven’t been playing with my kids. I also need to concentrate on my marriage and being with Giff more!

When I was younger, I don’t remember my parents being my playmates. I remember going on occasional family walks, bike rides, playing cards during snow days, camping, etc. But for the most part, we played together as siblings! I am the oldest of six children, with the next daughter being 3 1/2 years younger than me. I often played school by myself. I pretended I had students and did the whole school day with those pretend people. One time I even got my sister, brother and their neighborhood friends to play school with me. They were all the students, and of course, I was the teacher! They didn’t take it as seriously as I did; consequently, school was let out early that day. They all decided to go home because I was making them write sentences for not raising their hands and talking out of turn! Ha! If my boys only knew what kind of teacher I was back then versus now as their homeschool teacher! 🙂

How much is enough!?

I was acutely reminded of this familiar struggle last Saturday when the twins had some friends over. After playing with Legos for a little while, they went outside. From my perspective, it looked like they were having a good time; however, I soon learned of some grumblings in the camp about being bored. ……. Huh??!? I really wanted to go into a lengthy discourse regarding what it was like when I was a kid. You know…”When I was your age …(blah, blah, blah)!” But I refrained!

What would you have done? Should I have provided a little more structure? Should I have just let them figure it out themselves? I know I do need to provide a little more structure in their lives, but I also don’t want to be one of those families who has something scheduled every waking moment!!! They don’t have a lot of “screen” time (television, Wii, computer time, etc.), but we are still considering having them go through a detox even from the little that they do. I do believe these things prevent them from using their imaginations! They don’t know this yet, but we are even considering calling a moratorium on Legos this summer also. YIKES! Sometimes Legos can be an easy default that they retreat to that doesn’t require too much imagination or playing together!

Speaking of structure, a while back I happened upon the book “Managers of Their Homes!” For the most part, it is a good book; however, as I started to read it, I also started to feel claustrophobic and a little depressed. (I know that sounds silly!) I couldn’t put my finger on the reason right at first — at least until I tried implementing some of the ideas presented in the book. Basically, the women in this book took ALL of their duties and responsibilities as moms, wives, homemakers, etc. and reduced them into half-hour increments! It sounded so good and so …… orderly! Why would anyone NOT want to do the same? But the more I tried, the tighter everything around me became. I don’t want the clock to dictate to me what I should be doing. That would only add insult to injury! I didn’t want to continue because I knew all it would produce in me was a sense of failure for not having kept my schedule. I realized I do want structure with flexibility. Is that even possible? I think I want a framework of structure and freedom to maneuver my day within that framework.

I guess the key word is B-A-L-A-N-C-E!!!

Julie

PS: How do you structure your kids? How much is enough for your family? Give me something to ponder so my family can benefit and thrive!

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