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Old 05-17-2016, 11:30 AM
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Default Kids Don't Want to Play Outside Anymore?

My kids (4's & 5's) just don't want to play outside. They need a drink, they need to potty, they want to watch TV, they want to lay down and rest, it's too hot, it's too cold (it's a beautiful day), there are bugs outside, they want to play in the toy room, they want to play with inside toys. I have sent them back outdoors at least 15 times in the last 55 minutes. I'm cleaning up from lunch and prepping snack-they're outdoors and whining that I won't let them play inside (run around and scream and wake up my nappers).

I have tons of toys outdoors, I've tried setting up activities and games. I've tried directing and participating in games with them. All they want to do is wander around aimlessly complaining that they want to be in the house. My own son, 4, has been bawling because no one wants to play outside with him. I have one, nearly 5, who has been like this his entire life-he used to stand at the backdoor when we were outside, clawing on the door and screaming inside, inside.

Is it just my kids? Does anyone else have kids who act like the outdoors is a punishment? There are at least 20 different things they could be doing out there right now, and no one is interested.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:34 AM
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Here I can't have the kids outside without me being physically out there so if we are out, we are out. There is no back and forth. I do know what you mean though... my school age kid often asks to go inside.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MrsSteinel'sHouse View Post
Here I can't have the kids outside without me being physically out there so if we are out, we are out. There is no back and forth. I do know what you mean though... my school age kid often asks to go inside.
Kids over 3 here can be outdoors alone (even without a fence!) as long as there is sight or sound supervision. I don't let them out until they are 4 without me, and then only if they have the level of maturity to handle it, and I do have a fenced yard. I can see them, and I can hear them. They're safe out there, and I do monitor them, but there's not much to monitor when they spend most of the time standing outside the door begging to come back in.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:50 AM
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How much TV do you allow during the day? Are they given adequate rest time? Are they bored out there? My first thought is make a rule when they come in the must lay down with the nappers and nap.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Thriftylady View Post
How much TV do you allow during the day? Are they given adequate rest time? Are they bored out there? My first thought is make a rule when they come in the must lay down with the nappers and nap.
I do tell them that if they don't want to play outside that they can come in and nap. One of them regularly takes me up on it (he doesn't sleep, but he'd rather lay on the couch than be outdoors). They're not getting TV time, though they beg for it. I let them watch movies on rainy days, and the rest of the time, TV is off. The 4's and 5's simply don't nap. I used to require it, but they don't sleep and they end up making sure that the other kids don't nap, as well. I can't imagine how they could be bored-there are so many options for play out there-I bought them a big, new playset 2 years ago, there are all sorts of games to play, sandbox, play construction equipment, merry go round, ride ons (electric and manual), bubbles, chalk, barbies, cars, and on and on. What they all really want is for me to get annoyed enough that I park them in front of the television-they beg for it constantly.

My son has a friend his age next door, and we literally have to carry them inside often at dark because they're not ready to come in. I remember it being like this when I was a kid, too-we NEVER wanted to be indoors. Most of my daycare kids never want to be outdoors-even on days we have the wading pool set up!
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:00 PM
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Well my next question is what do they do at home. Do these kids get parked in front of TV, computer, tablet at home instead of playing? If so that may be part of your issue. Not that you can change what happens at home, but so many of the kids today get that and don't know how to play.
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:16 PM
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I think it is just the era. We almost have to re teach the kids how to play outside and have fun again. In my own neighborhood five years ago, I used to see kids running with basketballs and riding bikes outside. Now, I just only hear my sister and I. My first thought was wondering if they were scared of bees. My little sister was like that, until we told her that if she sees a bee fly towards her, she needs to duck and walk slowly . Now she plays outside on the trampoline and she blows bubbles outside since that day we told her to duck .

With your kids, you might want to try and make an obstacle course. Use what you have and encourage the kids to safely complete the obstacle course . Definitely talk to the parents of the kids and (I am not sure if this is a good idea, but I am only saying this once) , tell them that they need to get acclimated to the outdoors at home. If they are getting too much screen time at home, I know its the parents business but these kids are missing out on nature here. Even if they are outside for 30 minutes to an hour at home, it is a start. After all, my sister and I have had fond memories of drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, riding on our razor scooters, and playing with mud puddles .

Good luck to you you are trying your very best and that is a good thing .
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
I do tell them that if they don't want to play outside that they can come in and nap. One of them regularly takes me up on it (he doesn't sleep, but he'd rather lay on the couch than be outdoors). They're not getting TV time, though they beg for it. I let them watch movies on rainy days, and the rest of the time, TV is off. The 4's and 5's simply don't nap. I used to require it, but they don't sleep and they end up making sure that the other kids don't nap, as well. I can't imagine how they could be bored-there are so many options for play out there-I bought them a big, new playset 2 years ago, there are all sorts of games to play, sandbox, play construction equipment, merry go round, ride ons (electric and manual), bubbles, chalk, barbies, cars, and on and on. What they all really want is for me to get annoyed enough that I park them in front of the television-they beg for it constantly.

My son has a friend his age next door, and we literally have to carry them inside often at dark because they're not ready to come in. I remember it being like this when I was a kid, too-we NEVER wanted to be indoors. Most of my daycare kids never want to be outdoors-even on days we have the wading pool set up!
I had the same issues for awhile but I fixed it.

I now have "special" activities for older children (ie...kids that play outside and don't nap) that nappers (little kids) don't get to do.

Same with playing outside. I have two that just sit and pout outside. I have 3 that play like crazy...running around etc... so those 3 are "rewarded" with a freeze pop periodically because it's hard work and it's hot to play like that. The 2 sitters, don't get freeze pops. They didn't get hot or tired.

I have all sorts of "special" activities, toys and fun things that those that do play get to do/partake in.

It pushes them to play. Even if they're only doing it to get something (which is random and never predictable )
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thriftylady View Post
Well my next question is what do they do at home. Do these kids get parked in front of TV, computer, tablet at home instead of playing? If so that may be part of your issue. Not that you can change what happens at home, but so many of the kids today get that and don't know how to play.
One of them here today is a frequent drop-in. His mom told me that I could let him watch some TV here because he's been complaining to her that I never let them watch. Another's mom complained to me that he spends too much time on his tablet (um, WHO could be the one with the power to change that?). I think they know HOW to play, they just don't enjoy it.
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mandy View Post
I think it is just the era. We almost have to re teach the kids how to play outside and have fun again. In my own neighborhood five years ago, I used to see kids running with basketballs and riding bikes outside. Now, I just only hear my sister and I. My first thought was wondering if they were scared of bees. My little sister was like that, until we told her that if she sees a bee fly towards her, she needs to duck and walk slowly . Now she plays outside on the trampoline and she blows bubbles outside since that day we told her to duck .

With your kids, you might want to try and make an obstacle course. Use what you have and encourage the kids to safely complete the obstacle course . Definitely talk to the parents of the kids and (I am not sure if this is a good idea, but I am only saying this once) , tell them that they need to get acclimated to the outdoors at home. If they are getting too much screen time at home, I know its the parents business but these kids are missing out on nature here. Even if they are outside for 30 minutes to an hour at home, it is a start. After all, my sister and I have had fond memories of drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, riding on our razor scooters, and playing with mud puddles .

Good luck to you you are trying your very best and that is a good thing .
An obstacle course is a good idea! My husband was already going to build them a balance beam and other things like that to help them work on coordination-he can set up a course for them, too!
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I had the same issues for awhile but I fixed it.

I now have "special" activities for older children (ie...kids that play outside and don't nap) that nappers (little kids) don't get to do.

Same with playing outside. I have two that just sit and pout outside. I have 3 that play like crazy...running around etc... so those 3 are "rewarded" with a freeze pop periodically because it's hard work and it's hot to play like that. The 2 sitters, don't get freeze pops. They didn't get hot or tired.

I have all sorts of "special" activities, toys and fun things that those that do play get to do/partake in.

It pushes them to play. Even if they're only doing it to get something (which is random and never predictable )
VERY good idea! These kids hate to eat lunch, too (a majority can't tolerate the sight of anything healthy), so a treat between meals would be quite motivating!
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
My kids (4's & 5's) just don't want to play outside. They need a drink, they need to potty, they want to watch TV, they want to lay down and rest, it's too hot, it's too cold (it's a beautiful day), there are bugs outside, they want to play in the toy room, they want to play with inside toys. I have sent them back outdoors at least 15 times in the last 55 minutes. I'm cleaning up from lunch and prepping snack-they're outdoors and whining that I won't let them play inside (run around and scream and wake up my nappers).

I have tons of toys outdoors, I've tried setting up activities and games. I've tried directing and participating in games with them. All they want to do is wander around aimlessly complaining that they want to be in the house. My own son, 4, has been bawling because no one wants to play outside with him. I have one, nearly 5, who has been like this his entire life-he used to stand at the backdoor when we were outside, clawing on the door and screaming inside, inside.

Is it just my kids? Does anyone else have kids who act like the outdoors is a punishment? There are at least 20 different things they could be doing out there right now, and no one is interested.
I had one like this. He was coming from a heavy tv environment. I offered some suggestions on what to do and then actively ignored. It took almost a month but he finally figured out how to play and then started to enjoy outside time.

The last 2 months he was here were awful. Back to complaining, lying around, etc. Guess what? Mom increased his screen time.

I actively ignored. There was no option but to stay outside. He could choose to enjoy it or not. Pouting and whining were redirected to the farthest spot from me and he could rejoin me when he was ready to use a big boy voice. A loooong 2 months.

The rest of my kids can play and love outside time.
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:25 PM
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When I had SA non nappers, I had a quiet time schedule of silent reading for 30 minutes, educational computer games for 20 minutes, and then I sent them outside. I made sure everyone used the bathroom right after lunch and made it clear that was it until QT was done I have water bottles for each child that I fill up and put out on the picnic table. I found I couldn't send them out the entire time because they would get bored and it would be back and forth. By breaking it into chunks it was manageable.

That said, this is exactly why I don't take non napping kids. I set up my nap room so that kids can't see each other and have a couple loud white noise fans going so they can't hear each other. They don't have to sleep but all my kiddos (even my two 5 yo's) take a rest. I find that until they go to school, they can't seem to handle the independent quiet play I require for QT.
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:42 PM
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I also think it's the era!

Thing is it's okay to be bored! Nothing wrong with that and they have plenty to do so its their problem to fix, not yours. Though they certainly try to make it your problem.

I'm not sure if ignoring the whining will help but that's what I'd do! First I'd set up the expectation, let them know each morning that during nap its outside play time. Talk about what fun things they can plan for fun that afternoon. Have them brainstorm with you and each other.

I'd let them know it's not your problem (in a nice way) and it's their job to figure out something to do. Tell them you know they can do it. You have faith in them.

Yes, and it might take awhile. They probably do have to learn how to play outside and entertain themselves.

Is there something they can take out only at that time, like some of those dollar store tiny firemen or construction men or plastic animals or Dino's. I'd buy cheapies and let them pick from the special outdoor box. Only for them and only at that time of day and not be able to take them all so they seem special. That's about the extent of the planning I'd do.

It will take time. Hopefully the learn how fun the adventure can be! There, call it adventure time and after nap it's their job to report on the adventure of the day! Maybe even draw a picture of it when they come in!

Yes, like someone said have water bottles available...and bathroom before they go out.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:24 AM
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Kids over 3 here can be outdoors alone (even without a fence!) as long as there is sight or sound supervision. (
I'm so jealous! I live on a quiet street and my yard is surrounded by clear boundaries (strip of trees, raspberries, some fenced parts, etc.) and I can only let 7-and-up outside without me. Could be 5 and up if I had a 4-foot fence. I think it's so dumb. If a 5 year old wants to run away, a 4-foot fence isn't going to stop him. Self control will stop him. No self control, I wouldn't let them out without me! I will have 3 homeschoolers with me all day starting this summer, and three 3-4 year olds. I'd love to have the biggers outside while the littles are napping, but one of them is "only" 6; the other 2 are 7. It would be rotten to let two out while he's in alone. I can't fence the yard for various reasons. Very frustrating.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:50 AM
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I'm so jealous! I live on a quiet street and my yard is surrounded by clear boundaries (strip of trees, raspberries, some fenced parts, etc.) and I can only let 7-and-up outside without me. Could be 5 and up if I had a 4-foot fence. I think it's so dumb. If a 5 year old wants to run away, a 4-foot fence isn't going to stop him. Self control will stop him. No self control, I wouldn't let them out without me! I will have 3 homeschoolers with me all day starting this summer, and three 3-4 year olds. I'd love to have the biggers outside while the littles are napping, but one of them is "only" 6; the other 2 are 7. It would be rotten to let two out while he's in alone. I can't fence the yard for various reasons. Very frustrating.
I think that it is nuts that a fence isn't required to let them out that young, but I think that it's OK for the 4 year olds to be out there if they possess the maturity. I can see them when they're out, and can go out on the patio to monitor while the babies sleep 10 feet away inside the door. I love that I can go to the patio and see both inside and outside kids.
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:36 PM
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Afternoon update: 3 of 4 kids chose to come inside to nap rather than play outdoors. Whatever-they're quiet and not waking the others, at least. Yesterday was a success-almost no complaining about playing outside. Today is a different story. I hope they come around soon and decide to play again.
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:40 PM
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Afternoon update: 3 of 4 kids chose to come inside to nap rather than play outdoors. Whatever-they're quiet and not waking the others, at least. Yesterday was a success-almost no complaining about playing outside. Today is a different story. I hope they come around soon and decide to play again.
Oooo, sounds like the ones that choose to play outside need something "special" for making such a wonderful choice!

A little something can be a HUGE motivator
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:16 PM
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Oooo, sounds like the ones that choose to play outside need something "special" for making such a wonderful choice!

A little something can be a HUGE motivator
The kids that stayed out got donuts, because they needed some carbs for all that energy they were using!
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:17 PM
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The kids that stayed out got donuts, because they needed some carbs for all that energy they were using!


Oh, I bet the ones that chose to nap instead were bummed. Even if they didn't outright display disappointment, I'm sure it was there.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:28 PM
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We have reusable popcicle molds. During breaks, and summer between camp breaks, my big kids (Sa, my own and kids transitioning to K) fill them up with whatever they chose and IF they are good at rest time, they get to have theirs. If not, it stays in the fridge. I have minimal issues.

CAMP solved most of my problems though. They only get two weeks off at the beginning of summer and two weeks off at the end of summer that camp isn't in session.
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