Mom Monday-Confession I hate to play pretend with my child

16 Oct

I hear it from honest parents from time to time – “I just can’t stand to play with my kids, I hate to play pretend”.  The reasons can be as various as the people who express them: it’s too boring, I haven’t got the time, I’m just not interested in yet ANOTHER game of Candy Land or playing princess or hide-and-seek.  If you hate to play pretend with your child, read on.

Spending time together without playing pretend via Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Mother&Daughter by Roland Lakis via Flickr

Here’s a radical idea that perhaps goes against the best parenting advice of the day – DON’T!  The fact is, kids just want to spend time with you. If playing dollhouse bores you almost to tears, if you just can’t see the point of racing cars across the floor again and again and again, than don’t.


I personally have an aversion to playing pretend – as much as I encourage and believe in imaginative play, as much as I loved it so much when I was a child, I would almost dread when Kay would ask me – yet again – “Let’s play Princess; you’re the Prince!” Even when I was little I liked my pretend play solo. I guess that  didn’t change over the years.


Don’t misunderstand me – if you can force yourself to do it from time to time, go for it. The rarity of it will make it all the more special and memorable for your child. But if you truly can’t tolerate child’s play, and you’re bored and miserable through the whole thing, your child can tell, making it no real treat for either of you.

Spending time together without playing pretend via Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Gardening together by Carol Norquist via Flickr

My suggestion: do something else. What your child truly wants from you is your time. If molding with play dough or building with blocks is not your thing, then think about an interest you do both have. Do you enjoy baking, crafts, playing sports, going for walks together, performing science experiments, reading? In the end, it’s the time that matters so much more than the actual activity.


So put aside your guilt (I’m sure you have enough of that about various other things as it is!). Your child will not be scarred for life because you failed to build the “tallest tower ever” out of Legos with him. Activities that you both can enjoy will have far more impact and be a great memory for you both!


Remember, if you hate to play pretend with your child, don’t.  Just be sure to fill your quality time with activities that foster love between you; that aren’t pretend.


Emma Craig is a proud stay-at-home mom to a 6 year old daughter. She likes to find ways to make learning fun, and share them at P is for Preschooler.  Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook.

3 Responses to “Mom Monday-Confession I hate to play pretend with my child”

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