Dad Asks If Any Parent Actually Enjoys Playing With Their Kids

Dad Asks If Any Parent Actually Enjoys Playing With Their Kids

A dad on Reddit wonders if he’s in the minority when it comes to his lackluster desire to play with his toddler.

“As basically all parents do, I really love my son and there are some really enjoyable moments as well as some really difficult and exhausting moments. So far, so normal and expected,” he begins in his post shared on the /Parenting subreddit.

“But one thing bothers me— before becoming a parent, I expected that playing with one child would be quite enjoyable… but it’s sooooo incredibly boring. I really have to try hard to seem interested and not give away that I’d rather do something else. Playing ball, but holding back like 90 percent or pushing toy cars around is just… boring,” he continued.

“Is that normal? Our son is 3 but will soon be 4. I’m hoping that maybe when he gets older it might get better?”

After his post gained traction, several Reddit users commented on the post with varying degrees of opinion on this dad’s dilemma.

“Depends on what it is. Board games & card games yes,” one user wrote back.

“Any kind of playing with Barbies or role playing I cannot stand to play lol. She makes me usually pretend that we’re astronauts capturing aliens and turning them into humans lol. She’ll ask me to respond to her dialogue & not like my answer and then tell me what to say. Drives me nuts.”

“It gets better when they get older and have the manual dexterity and attention span to actually do fun things,” another said.

Another said, “I enjoy it with my 2 year old. Not 100 percent of the time but most of the time. We end up wrestling and being really silly usually. He’ll say something he’s not supposed to just to get me to chase him and we both usually end up laughing a lot.”

“I enjoy very much playing pretend with my 4 year old. She has a great imagination and makes up fun and interesting scenarios. They are often removed enough from reality to be entertaining to me. I also guide the game to a place where I get to enjoy myself,” one other user shared.

Another parent admitted that they don’t like playing with their toddler, either, and then raised an interesting point: their parents didn’t take part in playtime at all.

“I was pretty much in charge of my own fun from a young age,” they said. “I’m not saying it’s ideal but it made the times my parents actually played with me very special. The reality is we can’t handle everything at the same time and play with them on top,” another added.

Honesty time: I have a very hard time playing pretend with my daughter. She’s turning five at the end of the month, and we’re all in on the pretend play. From Barbie dolls to playing house, all she wants to do is imagine and role-play — and I kind of hate it.

I think the pain of knowing that my childhood imagination has completely left my soul is part of the reason why I dislike playing so much. I cannot find my “inner child.” I’d much rather color or do a craft with her than pretend to be pirates or Doc McStuffins.

The commenter above also recommended an article on independent play by Susie Allison, a mom of three with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.

Allison says independent play is an essential tool for developing children that teaches kids practical skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Play allows them to connect to other kids and understand their own emotional landscapes. She even adds that it allows adults to do their “adulting” while their kids play on their own.

Of course, every family should do what works for them. If pretend play is your jam, more power to you! Science says play is important, it’s just about finding what kinds of play fit for you and your kid.

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