Dad Asks If Any Parent Actually Enjoys Playing With Their Kids — ‘It’s So Boring, I’d Rather Do Something Else’

Play is crucial for kids, yet the dad's feelings are valid, too.

dad playing with toddler Tatiana Syrikova / Pexels

The daily requirements of parenting shift as kids age. Some tasks get easier and some harder as parents learn to set boundaries to keep their kids safe while letting their creative development flourish.

As babies grow out of their sweet little lump era into walking, talking toddlers with big ideas and boundless energy, some parents find themselves celebrating the change, while others find it more challenging.


A dad asked if other parents actually like playing with their kids because he thinks it’s ‘so boring.’ 

The dad explained on the r/parenting subreddit that he has no shortage of love for his only son, who’s on the cusp of turning 4 years old.

He said his parenting journey has been marked by “Some really enjoyable moments as well as some really difficult and exhausting moments.” The labor of raising a child has been “normal and expected,” yet there’s one thing that bothers him.

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Before having his son, the dad expected to enjoy playing together, but in reality, he thinks it’s “incredibly boring.”

“I really have to try hard to seem interested and not give away that I'd rather do something else,” the bored dad said.

The dad questioned himself, wondering if it was normal to be bored while playing with his kid. He asked other parents how they feel about playtime, adding his hope that it will get better as his son gets older.

He imagined that playing with his toddler would be fun, only to find that ‘pushing toy cards around is just boring.’

Other parents on the forum validated his experience, letting him know there’s nothing wrong with being bored by toddler-aged play.


Many parents commiserated with this particular type of boredom, noting that most kids go through a phase of imaginative play where they insist on controlling the scene, from dialogue down to movement.

While this stage can feel fairly infuriating for parents, it’s entirely developmentally appropriate and necessary for toddlers to go through.

A parent who doesn’t particularly like playing shared their tactic for entertaining and engaging their kids, which was to focus on activities they both enjoy, like reading and art.

dad and toddler playing trucks in the yard Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels


“I watch them do the other things and let them tell me about it,” they said, offering an example of how to be involved yet not get roped into a game they don’t want to take part in.

Another parent admitted that they don’t like playing with their toddler, either, and then raised an interesting point. They asked themselves how their own parents navigated the issue and then remembered that their parents didn’t take part in playtime at all.

“I was pretty much in charge of my own fun from a young age,” they said. “I'm not saying it's ideal but it made the times my parents actually played with me very special.”

The parent offered a grounding perspective rooted in love and parental self-care, saying, “The reality is we can't handle everything at the same time and play with them on top.”


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They recommended an article on independent play written by Susie Allison, the mom of three kids who holds a Master’s in Early Childhood Education.

Allison explained that play is an essential tool for developing children


dad and son playing with train set Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

Play teaches kids practical skills, yet more importantly, it teaches them empathy and raises their emotional intelligence, allowing them to connect to other kids and understand their own emotional landscapes.

In noting the power of play, Allison also shared how important it is to teach kids how to play on their own.

Another mom on the thread reiterated that perspective, saying, “It's not only fine for you to refuse any play you don't enjoy, it's really important for kids to have significant playtime without adult input.


“Don't feel bad about telling them no and asking them to occupy themselves ever so often,” she said.

Playing cars, pretending, or building towers to knock down over and over aren’t the only ways to show love, care, and attention to a kid, especially if those activities leave parents feeling bone-deep boredom.

Going on walks, cooking, reading, and doing arts and crafts are all ways to spark creativity while spending quality together.


What works for one family won’t always work for another. Having fun takes many forms, it’s just a matter of finding what fits you and your individual kid. 

RELATED: Mom Who Refused To Play With Her Kids Says Her Life Is Better Now As A Result

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.