What to do when you feel — I don’t want to play with my child.

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Inside: 3 step solution to relieve an exhausted mother’s struggle to play with their child. When emotions like these take over — I don’t want to play with my child or I don’t have the energy to play with my toddler or I struggle to play with my child. Too tired to play with your child.

What to do when you’re too tired to play with your child. Exhausted moms often feel saying — I don’t want to play with you, is not an option. Especially when you also realize the importance of learning through play.

Our biggest conundrum is how to respond your child’s innocent question of do you want to play with me, with a simple — not right now, I’m busy or I’m tired because I was busy!

We’ve all been their, the moment you say no they cry, we get angry and yell, and it becomes a very stressed situation. One, that we dread from happening next time.

Which puts more pressure on parents. And in-spite of feeling the struggle to play with my child, I either end up playing with them, with work and frustration on my mind; or I end up with a crying child.

But you now what? it doesn’t have to be this way! We can train our kids to accept the fact that we’re busy, and eventually help them play independently.

Don’t Feel Guilty, for not playing with your kids!

Never think – “I’m too tired to be a good mom”

When saying no to the request of “mom let’s play”, we feel we’re too tired to be a good mom. Which is not true!

We often find ourselves responding to our kids with frustration or anger.

This frustration and anger comes from GUILT.

Yes, Guilt! because you realize the importance of playing with your child. So, you can’t tell them “not now” easily.

3 step solution to relieve an exhausted mother's struggle to play with their child. When emotions like these take over -- I don't want to play with my child or I don't have the energy to play with my toddler or I struggle to play with my child. Too tired to play with your child.

Solution #1 — Don’t feel Guilty for not being able to play with your kid.

But in reality, you have to say no because you’re busy or tired. Not because you don’t want to play with your child.

Not wanting to play with your child DOES NOT mean you’re too tired to parent. Never feel that way, the truth is you’re tired BECAUSE you parent a child.

Listen my child drains my energy, and I’m sure you’re has that magical power too.

Don’t burden yourself with the guilt, of “I don’t want to play with my child”. Realize that you don’t have the bandwidth to play currently.

And it is totally okay, to not have any energy left to play with my toddler.

You are not the only one who struggles to play with your child. We all do.

So you got it down? Don’t feel — I struggle to play with my child. Realize you’re and exhausted working mom (yes, moms who stay at home are also working all them time!)

Never ever feel you’re too tired to be a good mom or too tired to parent.

Be Honest About the Tiredness to play with your kids!

The second step is, to be honest with your child, and tell them you can’t play right now because you’re cooking or because you need to clean up or because you had a long day at work or because you have some work to finish.

Whatever is the reason to share that with your child, NO MATTER the age of your child.

Kids understand a lot more than we give them credit to.

It’s us moms who think “oh she’s just 3 yrs old, she won’t understand”.

So solution #2 — Be honest with your child and tell them what you’re busy with; or why you’re tired and you need to take a break.

So, remove the hindering block you’ve made in your mind don’t fear that my child drains my energy. Just BE HONEST with them and tell them you can’t play right now!

Just tell them you can’t play with them because you’re a busy mom or and an exhausted mom.

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Expect and Acknowledge their retaliation when you don’t want to play with them.

Look play is work for kids, but for us parents. It’s not so. We have so much other work that needs to be done; around house, job, kitchen etc.

And Secondly, the reason your child drains your energy is — because you’re their entire world.

You need to understand your child’s desire to play with you all the time is because — they want to share their special world with their most special person!

I talk a lot about this in psychology behind why toddler’s don’t listen. Go read that after this article!

Solution #3 – Expect their retaliation and acknowledge their hurt feelings.

So what do kids do when you tell them you can’t play with them right now? They cry and pester and make a big deal.

Caution — This often makes us feel guilty for not being able to play with our child. But remember the first step, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.

Just help your child go through the feeling of being upset, when busy or tired — by acknowledging their feelings.

Let’s quickly practice acknowledging your child’s retaliation —

Use words like —

  • I see you’re so upset because mom can’t play with you right now.
  • You feel really bad that mom is tired when you want her to play with you.
  • How about you play and I see you play from here.
  • Let me finish my work, and I will come to you and ask to play together when I’m done.
  • This hurts your feelings, that I don’t want to play right now. Will a hug make you feel better?

So you see acknowledge their feelings that you can’t play. Just don’t think that parents playing with kids is a necessity.

Ultimately your child will learn to stop asking you to play, and realize playing is their work, and you have other work to do.


Summary of what to do when you feel — I don’t want to play with my child.

Stop feeling guilty for being too tired or too busy to play with your child. Never translate this into – too tired to parent, or too tired to be a good mom.

Be honest with your child, and share your feeling with them. Realize it’s us who put the limitations on their understanding.

Expect and Acknowledge their hurt emotions for not being able to play with them.

Believe, your child will learn to stop asking you to play with them.

So next time wonder “how much do I have to play with my child?”. Just remember to shower some grace on them and yourself, and realize the big reason behind it — It’s because you’re their world!

Related Read

Reasons behind losing patience with Kids.

Why do kids break house rules

How to find time to take a break with kids around

Yes Space: Independent Play area for toddlers and kids

How to encourage your child to play independently

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