5 Reasons Why You Should Sometimes Ignore Children.

Children can be really annoying. As parents we have to deal with crazy shouting, arguing, children repeatedly doing stuff they shouldn’t be and it’s all enough to drive us crazy! Being patient is tough and we are bound to get frustrated and look to discipline our children when this happens. Actually, ignoring your child when they sit on the sofa whilst covered in mud or when they make the ‘oop’ noise for the thousandth time may be more effective.

I’m a primary school teacher and I work with young children. On a daily basis I deal with minor childhood incidents and children learn to get on with each other and work together. However, I have noticed that children don’t seem to be able to wait like they used to. Certain children demand my full attention, are very attention seeking most of the time or can be just a bit annoying! In a class full of children, this makes my job much harder! This makes me wonder, why is it that some young children think that the world revolves around them and why is it that some children demand constant attention more than most? This inspired me to write a post on why ignoring your children sometimes is actually what you all need!

1. They need to be bored to be creative.

I really believe that, on occasion children need to bored. How else will they sit and ponder how the world works or be creative with their time? Don’t you remember being outside and just finding ants or getting out the Lego and just building what you fancy? If we always give them something to do, entertain them or if they play their tablet whenever they want to, they never feel what it’s like to be bored. Ignoring your children for short amounts of time will allow them to have to find something to do and, believe me, they will but it takes practise! Show them that they can get out whatever toys they like so that when they are unsure what to do, they know where to go.

5 Reasons why you should sometimes ignore your children
Children need to be bored to be creative

2. They need to know that they are not the centre of the universe.

Many modern children believe they are the centre of the universe and I just don’t understand it. So many children interrupt when I’m trying to speak to their parent and their parent will stop and listen to their child’s demands. Children need to learn to wait. As their teacher, I will often tell them to wait as I’m speaking to their parent and they look at me as if I’m mad! Learning patience is a skill that we want our children to develop as they will not always get what they want as adults. Patience and turn taking is much harder for children to learn at school if they are always used to getting 100% of our time whenever they demand it at home.

3. They need to realise that their parents are people too and sometimes their needs come first.

This is so important. Children need to understand for an early age that their parents are human beings with feelings. This helps to develop empathy. If they hit you, stop them! It’s not kind to hit so if you allow them to hit you when they are angry or having a tantrum  aged 4, they will think that’s ok. Being hit by a 10 year old is not funny and being hit by a 13 year old hurts. Ignore minor tantrums if at all possible after the age of 4 as your child is just tired, hungry or trying to get your attention! However, if your child is always using negative attention seeking behaviour address it by giving lots of positive attention. In this case, you should not ignore the behaviour that you want to see. For example, if your child always refuses to tidy away any toys when you ask them, ignore this but if they do put the smallest toy away, go overboard with your praise. They will soon want to please you by putting away their toys.

4. They need to be able to play without an adult supervising them.

Like any skill that children learn, playing alone takes practise. In order to learn this skill, your child may need initial help so you need to play with them. As a teacher, I see more and more children who need support to play with toys appropriately. Get down on the floor and play trains, dress up and have a tea party or do that puzzle for the tenth time as this is how your child will learn to play. Once they can do this then you can expect them to play on their own or with their siblings/friends for some of the time.

5.  They learn how to solve their own problems.

I am not against children using iPads or computers. In fact, computer literacy is important but what I am against is the use of tablets as a baby sitter. Of course, tablets can be useful when children need to be still like on a long journey but in these circumstances I would still limit their use. There are so many other things children could be doing! Ignoring your child for small amounts of time will enable them to create their own games, find their own fun or seek out things to do that you couldn’t even imagine.

As always I would love to hear your views!

5 Reasons you should sometimes ignore children. Oldhouseintheshires. #parenting #family #education

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47 Comments

  • This is so very true – right up there with let them be bored otherwise they’ll never learn to amuse themselves

  • My dear friend, I always enjoy your writing but this really strikes such a deep chord. As you know, my children are ‘grown up’ whatever that means …. certainly they all have their own roosts and incomes though I do often remind people that ‘a child is for life, not just for Christmas’ and once you conceive that baby you will always be it’s mummy. This piece should be well read and digested by the masses. Ever single point you make is perfect. How on earth can a child understand that it life will not always be rosy posy if there is never a moment of boredom, how will they ever learn that they are not the centre of any universe if they are always first in line, how will they learn tolerance and natural order if they are never left to fight it out. I loved this. May I share it on my FaceBook page please? (I’m just revamped it to showcase the work of other bloggers rather than just my own) xx

    • Ofcourse! Thank you dear Osyth. You always make such lovely comments. I hope you are keeping well? I’m in listed building planning loop nightmare BUT there may be light at the end of the planning tunnel……

      • Hurrah! I only say what I feel so it’s easy to say good things about your work. I’m keeping well. Here it is not a listing building but town licences for seemingly everything that are the bane. That and needing a crash course in American-English to understand what they are asking for!! Our monument historique in France is a doddle compared with this mazing minefield but it keeps me spry. Bon courage with the listed building consent. I am heartened that you spy some light ….. 💡

        • Haha. I must pop over to your blog as I’m so behind reading others posts at the moment. Take care. X

          • I’ve barely written since I moved here so not much to see, I imagine. But some 😉 xx

  • My pet hate is my child interrupting me while I’m speaking to someone! He definately gets told to wait and say excuse me. I’m hopeful perseverance with this will help him learn. I totally agree a little bit of ignoring is good for them! I love an independent child! Lovely post – a very enjoyable read 🙂

    • Thanks Rachel! Glad you liked it. X

  • Hey! You are back? How fabulous. 100% agree with all of this. I do wonder half the term with the interrupting whether parents are so conditioned to it that they don’t even notice it. It drives me blooming mad. I cannot imagine what it must be like having to deal with all of this as a teacher. I take my hat off to you. Thanks for joining us at #tweensteensbeyond

    • Yes, that could be true. I hadn’t thought about it! I am back but blogging less as I think that gives me a better balance. x

  • I love this so much! We have become far too child-centric and we are probably breeding a generation of narcissists as a result. I make a point of ignoring my daughter frequently although I may feel like a bit of a cow sometimes she needs to know she is not the centre of the universe else she is going to have a rude awakening in the real world! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this – great post x

  • Hi, this was a refreshing read and very valid points, it’s important for children to realise that we have to priories others needs first sometimes. Oh and to be patient not demanding. Finally you can’t beat being out in the fresh air and it’s amazing what a bit of imagination can do #thatfridaylinky
    Chloe Day recently posted…Review of Vasilissa Wild Forest Honey With CinnamonMy Profile

    • I had to train mine but they got there in th end!

  • Some really good points, children do need to learn how to entertain themselves and play without an adult. Also waiting for people to stop talking before interrupting is important. Beautifully written post #thesatsesh

  • Oh Sophie I love this. There are some really good points here. I have always been quite good at ignoring my children and now that they are teens of course they are busy ignoring me!! I was raised to recognise a need to entertain myself sometimes and even to be bored and it is something that has been inherent within my own parenting, as is a need to acknowledge “adult” time which of course now has very blurred boundaries but I am always slightly bemused by parents of some young children who seem to be very much the ones in control and not the parents. It is not always easy but then parenting isn’t. Lovely to see you back and hope the life balance is sorted. I am looking forward to a lovely blog break! #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jo – Mother of Teenagers recently posted…Tweens, Teens & Beyond #50My Profile

    • You are right, parenting is not easy but I also don’t get the parents who let kids rule the roost at aged 5. What on Earth will that child be like at 14? Shudder

  • These are some of the most important things for me to do as a parent. Patience and Manners are vital. It can be hard though and I must admit that sometimes I cave in! Won’t allow him to be bored etc. #ThatFridaylinky

  • YES YES YES to all! I ran a home daycare and I’ve long maintained that the reason mine was so peaceful and fun for the kids was due to my allowing them to play without adult over involvement. We’re strangling kids until they cannot do or say anything without a rapt audience dedicating themselves to fawning. #DreamTeam

    • Exactly! Daycare must have been fun but hard work. X

  • Absolutely agree with this Sophie especially the problem solving part. That is a life skill that we all need. They need to be able to make mistakes too because that is how we all learn. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  • I’m all for the little ones learning to be creative and using their imaginations. #DreamTeam

  • Totally agree with this post! Sometimes too much helicopter parenting and listening to their voice to the detriment of other adults isn’t ideal! X #coolmumclub

    • Exactly. So glad you liked this post. X

  • I totally agree with all of this. Being bored definitely inspires creativity. I’m astounded by the amount of people I know who will drop everything to attend to their child’s every desire even if they are mid conversation with another adult! #CoolMumClub

    • Yes! Me too. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Paragraph 2! You have no idea how much I want to hug you right now. I am simply mind boggled by the number of parents who don’t see any problem with their kids interrupting them mid conversation and I have to literally take deep breaths to stop myself yelling ‘Don’t put up with that!!’ at my friends every time their child pulls on their sleeve, tries to yank them away or just interrupts as I’m talking to their mum! Re para 4, I remember when we first moved to Malta from the UK and my now 14yo was 19 months old, the nursery manager praised me for having a child who knew ‘how to play’. I thought it was the oddest comment but now I understand it. #coolmumclub

    • Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you. I sooo agree. I am seeing more and more children who have to go to play therapy as they just don’t know how to play with toys or each other.its really sad. Thank you for popping over to my blog. X

  • This post is spot-on Sophie! I have always used ‘tactical ignoring’ very effectively in my classroom and yet at home I sometimes feel I am supervising everything, intervening so much and also like I am just some sort of servant being ordered around by the children who are making so many demands on me! 2 and 3 are ones that I need to remember from now on. Thanks xx #thesatsesh

    • But don’t you think seeing the children int he classroom is soooo different to being a parent? I think we often see the best of the children in the classroom (although not always) so it’s easier…and then they go home! Thanks for your comment. Xx

  • Absolutely brilliant, I completely agree with every statement and feel quite relieved I’m not the only one trying to back off and leave them to their own devices sometimes!

    • Thanks Dynamic dad! And glad you finally got to read it!

  • Great advice, Sophie, and I do agree with it all. I do just differ with the use of one word, though, and that is the word ‘bored’. I do believe we mean the same thing. However, I would say there is never a need to be bored. I would say that children need unstructured time, time to be with their own thoughts, play their own games and decide how they spend their time. Boredom to me signifies not being able to think of anything to do, a time of unhappiness and feeling sorry for oneself. I think children should be able to conjure up lots of things to think and do to entertain themselves – a joyful time. I always could.

    • I think we do mean the same thing Norah and I don’t mind differing opinions! I welcome it!
      You are right, there is never a need to be bored BUT I do mean bored. I think that modern children can’t think of things to do so need to feel this frustration by being bored. Their parents shouldn’t then fill their child’s time to fill this void. All children need to understand that the feeling of boredom is well, boring! Only then will they be able to look for their own things to do….sometimes needing help to get started. So parents could show them, ‘you could get all your felt tip pens out….you could go in the garden……you could pour all your Lego on the floor…” This is then scaffolding their play by supporting their boredom if that makes sense!
      I agree that, as children, we could possibly enjoy unstructured time without support but I’m not sure if all children can do this, especially if they are used to always being entertained.
      Hope that makes sense.
      Love your comment and thank you for debating with me lovely!

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