Friday 13 July 2018

Like lighting a fuse - when the children play together

Our summer holidays have just begun, and we are quickly settling into our summer routine. We have a couple of short breaks planned, as well as activities and play dates, but a lot of the time we'll spend together at home. I'm definitely a home bird and I like pottering about in the house. Luckily the  children do too, although I still need to keep them busy.

I'm very lucky that the children will still play nicely together quite a lot of the time. Although he's growing up fast, Harry still loves imaginary play and he's not ready to pack away his toys just yet. Mia loves playing with him, and they can occupy themselves for quite a while with the train set, the teddies, the Playmobil and so on. They come up with some lovely games, and I also notice them acting out scenarios which relate to things that they are going through in real life - it's wonderful to observe.

But the trouble is that it will only last for a certain amount of time. I liken it to lighting a fuse. They will start playing nicely together and everything will be going fine, then suddenly there will be an explosion - something will be triggered that causes an argument - and it will all end in tears.

There's no knowing how long the fuse will burn for before the explosion. Generally, Mia will become frustrated with something, blame Harry, he'll get upset and Mia will get even more cross. One of them will come up to me in tears, and then there's no going back to the peaceful state of play. I have to try and comfort both children and come up with some kind of distraction, usually a snack for Mia while letting Harry retreat with a book.

It's a similar story when we sit down to do something all together, perhaps crafting or playing a game. Everything will be going well and we'll all be having fun, then something will happen to trigger the explosion. The crafting scene below may look idyllic, but they are just minutes or even seconds away from meltdown.

Children cross stitching together

Mia in particular gets very easily frustrated and will quickly lose her temper. I know there are hereditary factors at play, as well as hunger being a trigger, but I'm also wondering whether it could be caused by a little too much screen time. I worry that real life isn't as easy as a computer game, and it's affecting her ability to focus on a real world task and see it through to completion. She certainly doesn't have the patience for things that Harry does.

So I'm determined to try and cut down the screen time over the holidays and make sure that she's also spending time sat down with a book or playing a board game. Wish me luck, we still have many more weeks of the holiday left!

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