Why I Don’t Let My Kids Have Play Dates (mostly)

School ended yesterday. The kids are tired. I’m tired. The house is trashed –piles of half-used workbooks, graded papers, winter clothes to be put away – seem to have overtaken it.

But that’s not the reason I said my 8 and 11-year olds can’t have play dates today.

There are two big reasons I’m not letting my kids have play dates. At least not for a while and not as often as they’d like.

My goals are that:

1. My girls play together and maintain a strong bond of friendship.

2. My girls get bored –bored enough to spark their creativity, inventiveness, and outside-of-the-box thinking.

Sibling Friendships

Ever notice that your kids bring home the squabbles and sassiness of school? And take it out on the sibling(s)?

Me, too.

School and friendship highs and lows affect my kids, probably your kids, too. It’s normal. Stress, anxiety, confusion, gossip, . . . it all comes home.

Most of the time our kids don’t express their feelings they simply act on them. In other words, a child doesn’t say, “Mom, I feel so mad that I was left out today.” (If they do, that’s fantastic though!) We usually just see one child being rude to us or a sibling, leaving her out, or being mean.

Even when things are going well with friendships, I notice a difference in how my kids play together.

So I am removing the friendship equation for a short time – no play dates – because I want my kids to reconnect, play, and see the other person as a good friend.

Benefits of Boredom

Boredom. I love it. My kids hate it.

Boredom is my most important goal – what I want for my kids this summer because it’s only in boredom that my kids are forced to think, create, and innovate.

Here’s what I see when my kids get bored IF I don’t solve it for them. (And when does that ever work anyway? They just argue that they don’t like my ideas.)

1. Playing with toys they haven’t played with in awhile.

2. Inventing new games.

3. Using crafts to exercise their creativity.

4. Planning an elaborate pretend play scenario.

5. Creating artwork.

6. Playing with siblings (and getting along.)

7. Inventing things to make.

8. Organizing toys, games, and clothes.

Sister Bonding

Today’s no-play dates and boredom led to so much sibling fun. The girls blew up baby swimming pools and floaties. They made up games, played, laughed, and enjoyed their friendship.  So for now, no play dates. My kids need to reconnect and remember how to use boredom for good. Then, we’ll add in other friends.

Sister Bonding

What do you do to encourage creativity when boredom sets in?

 

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