5 year old only child

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
5 year old only child
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 9:47pm

I have a 5 year old who is an only child. I am a SAHM so she is with me 24/7. When dh comes home I let her run her day by him this takes around 10 minutes. Then I tell her that it is mommy and daddy's time to talk. We cannot sit on the couch or at the table with out her "talking" so loudly that it drowns our converstaion out or interuptions.

My husband and I cannot and I mean CANNOT talk with her in our face every second. She is constantly interrupting us, she will not play on her own! She has computer games, TONS of toys and games. Godforbid she should do something on her own. I do not do everything for her, i encourage her to do things on her own that I know she can do by herself.

Then during dinner time all I hear is "can we go to the park, mommy lets go to the park" she repeats this for the entire dinner. We tell her that we are eating and we are not going to talk about the park. Then she sits for a minute then starts right back up "ok after we eat we are going to the park ok mommy, I'll ride my bike" By now I have lost my cool, and tell her not to mention the park again. And my dh wants to sit an watch a program on tv together. Then if it is not the park she sqawking abt its "I wanna watch cartoons, mommy/daddy turn on cartoons" and there are things that dh and I want to watch, she runs the tv all day between going to the park, swimming playing games she THINKS she has to watch cartoons. we have told her that mommy and daddy enjoy watching a tv show and it is not her tv. We read TONS of books, go to the library etc....

We are home all day and during the day we go to the park for atleast 2 hours in the AM when it's cooler, and then we will go swimming in the afternoon. I play games with her so does DH.

She will not shut up when dh and I try talking or do anything. I know that sounds mean or bad but it is getting on my nerves. I cannot even take a shower with out her coming in every 2 minutes or so to ask if she can go to the park or buy a new stuffed animal.

We have made it clear that everytime we go to the store she cannot get something everytime. And she does not get stuff everytime. But she just will not let things drop.

Is there such a thing as "parental burn-out?" Becuase I am at the end of my rope. I cannot enjoy my time with dh. Our sex life sucks. Wer cannot have time together or a chance to talk becuase dd is constantly in my face every chance she gets. Dh pays the same amount of attention to her as well. We have explained to her a million times that mommy and daddy need time to talk when daddy gets home. It is hard to wait until she goes to bed, because i have a very short memory sometimes and I need to say it right then and there.

She WILL NOT play in her room or by herself. I have told her that she needs to use her immagination and learn to play things BY HERSELF, and that I do not need to be right by her every second and she needs to do stuff on her OWN. I need "me time" and "dh time"

What can I do..........I am so frustrated i could scream!


sorry for long post

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 11:00am
Hi Sarah. (No problem for the long post!) I also am a SAHM with an only child. I understand what you mean exactly! My DS went through this stage about a year ago and it was IMPOSSIBLE for my DH and I to have a conversation, let alone a relationship!

First, believe me when I say she will probably outgrow it. Second, let me give you a few tips to get you through this difficult time.

1. You may have to write down the things you want to talk to DH about and wait until her bedtime. I had to do that b/c I, too, have a bad short-term memory. If I thought of something I wanted to tell him or ask him, I'd write it down on a notecard and it would wait until 8 p.m.

2. There IS such a thing as parental burn-out and you probably are experiencing it! It tough to have a child in your face all the time. Have you and DH discussed the possibility of leaving her with a grandparent, friend, sibling so you and DH can have an evening alone? My DH and I made date nights once a month. While it would've been nice to do this once a WEEK, it just wasn't feasible. We called my MIL and she came over to watch DS for a few hours while we went out to eat and then to do whatever we wanted. We'd get home after DS went to bed, sometimes earlier. It was heaven!

3. Sometimes tough love is needed with children who are constant talkers. You may have to be firm with her. It sounds like you're saying the right things, but she might be old enough to understand what an "interruption" is. When she interrupts your conversation with DH, send her to a time-out. Don't make your conversations with your DH last longer than 5 minutes or so. Her attention span is only a couple minutes long! Waiting 20 minutes or longer so you can talk to DH would be pure torture to your child.

4. She's being repetitive to allow you to set boundaries. When you say no, mean it and stick to it. Don't cave in. It doesn't sound like you cave in, but you might be close! Don't do it! Fight all urges to give her what she wants just because she's on your nerves! Eventually, she will KNOW the boundaries and stop asking so many times.

5. Find time alone! Being a SAHM doesn't allow time for YOU. Get her enrolled in a gymnastics class, or an art class or a play date once a week so you can have some time to collect your thoughts! YOU need that too!

Hopefully this advice will be helpful to you! Good luck and stay calm!

Loving wife to David (3-2

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 12:53pm
Thank you for the advice! I know it is hard for me to write stuff down!

We do not have family near by..my family is n Iowa and His family is in Pakistan. So no close relatives right now! We have freinds we could let her stay with but they don't understand why we don't want her with.

I told dh that when his sister comes for a visit the WE WILL HAVE A DATE !! I told him we need 1 night a month just 1! I am not asking for a cruise or trip but just 1 nite for us!! And dh really doesn't understand that I need "me" time. I love being with him but I cannot for the life of me get away from both! He thinks that it is wrong for me to want to be away from them both sometimes, I just want a little "down time" either just me or out with what few friends I have........lunch or coffee would make my day!

I do not give in, usually after 1/2+ hr of repeating: "what is there to eat, can we go to the park, can I get an animal at the store, play on the computer with me" (you see wht I mean) I usually just snap at her. I tell I have had enough of it (wht ever the repeat is at the time) I do not want to hear it again. If I am tired and want to relax or read or whatever she needs to understand that but she is 5 so that wont happen anytime soon!

After a full day of running errands, cleaning, going to the park, swimming, library etc I need a break and she needs to learn to drop the subject and go play.

But Like you said I hope she out grows this phase soon.


my flame of parenting is running on low....and on the burn out!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 2:18pm

If your DH is Pakistani, which you alluded to in your post, he might have different views of how the woman should be inside the home, which is why he doesn't understand the need for YOU time. But it is necessary! It's a MUST HAVE if you want to stay sane for him and your DD.

Try asking your DD why she asks more than once. If she starts being repetitive ask, "Why do you ask more than one time?" She may not have an answer, but it's worth a shot! If you question her behavior, she may just think twice about it! (Of course, you KNOW why she asks more than once...it's to see if you'll give in...but if you draw attention to it, she just might change it.)

It's hard when you don't have family around and few friends, but you NEED to get away with your DH. I'm surprised when you say your friends don't understand why you can't take DD with you. Are you able to send her off to a friend's house to play during the day to get some time alone? That might be another option.

Loving wife to David (3-2

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 2:26pm
Hello again!

Dh does not want to me stay in the house. We have our own business and I start at one clients on July 1st! So I will be gone all day which will help. He doesn't have views abt women staying inside the home trust me.

I guess I just need patience NOW!



it is my dh who can't understand why I want time to myself, my few friends tht i have understand..........it's dh who really doesn't grasp it yet ;)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 9:27pm
I'm a stay at home mom as well to a four, almost five year old boy. My son is much like your child. He is always involved in our discussions, so we usually talk about personal issues after he is well asleep at night. One positive thing is his vocabulary and sentences are fabulous..he sometimes talks like an adult. But I understand how frustrated you are. Our son for the longest time didn't want to play all by himself but he is getting better with time. It is exhausting to have to 'entertain' them all day. One thing i find that is helping now is putting out a 'slipping slide' in the backyard. He will spend loads of time on it and I can just watch him and relax. I often use the counting technique, of 1,2,3 if he is doing something inappropriate like interupting or disrupting the dinner table. If we get to a 3 it's a timeout in his room. This works very well for us. My son is just finishing up junior kindergarten and that I am sad to see end for the year. He loved school, and interacting with all the kids. But I have him enrolled in a library program for the summer, it's one hour a week. Not much time but at least it's something. Is your child in school yet? Maybe your child would benefit from the schooling? I know my son was so ready for junior kindergarten..he got on the bus the first day smiling all the way. He wanted that interaction and it was a nice break for me as well. Something to think about. Anyhow, I can see why you are frustrated, because I'm like that many a day myself. I am fortunate to be very close to my family, so when I am having these days I just call them up to talk. Take care, and hang in there. Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 9:51pm

I have a 4 yr old dd that sounds just like your child. I stay home with her 24/7 with relatives that live over seas, and very few friends that are willing to take my kids for a few hours to give me a break. So i started a nap routine. My dd stopped napping at 2 yr old. But this new nap routine is for me. I set up her lego, polly pockets, whatever her favorite toy of the day is in the same room as me ( with baby gates so she doesn't get into things and destroy my house or raid the cupboards) then i tell her i'm tired i need to nap for a while. I show her the clock and tell her to be quiet until the big hand reaches the 12 ( you could put a big red sticker at the 12 if she doesn't recognize numbers yet). She will talk to me for the first 5 minutes but i remind her to be quiet cause i need my nap. And if she sees my eyes open she will talk to me. So i will lay on the couch for half and hour with my eyes closed pretending to be asleep. While she plays quietly next to me, i can still hear her soft voice but the constant need for attention is gone for a while. I used to feel guilty doing this cause i was ignoring her, but i need my quiet time and this is the only way i am going to get it. You do what you have to do. We also have reading time, where we sit in the same room and each read our own books. It took her a while to catch on to silent reading (she would "read" the pictures out loud and want to involve me).Now I can catch 15 minutes of peace and quiet by our silent reading time. I figure i do enough with her and for her during the day ( library, swimming, playgroup, ballet, reading, playdays, writing, bike rides, park, skating etc) that i deserve to give myself 15 minutes breaks through out the day, to re charge my own batteries so I can keep going till bed time.

Every other job except this one has coffee breaks and a lunch hour where you can do what you want to do. Why not create your own "coffee break" and re charge your batteries daily? Another idea, when you want to write down a few things to remind you of what to tell hubby have your child write a letter, or draw a picture for daddy. I know this is a phase that she will soon outgrow, my oldest now six and a half went through the same thing a few yrs back. I can proudly say he no longer asks the same question over and over, he no longer repeates himself on and on, he has finally outgrown that annoying stage. You just have to create something that will give you daily down time until this phase ends. Good luck and hang in there.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 8:11am
I'm also a SAHM mom of an "only," a 5 YO boy, and I agree quite emphatically with the other posters! It's easy to think that just because you CAN include a 5 YO "only" in almost all of your daily activities, that you "should" do so, and it just isn't the case! Absolutely, all parents need a break sometimes. Without family nearby, a sitter sounds like your best bet on the occasional evening. Your DH may not "get it" why you need some grownup-only time, but if it leads to an improvement in your sex life, he's apt not to care why it is, LOL! Just make sure the connection is obvious to your DH, wink, wink! ;-)

I have a few more ideas to add! Oddly, perhaps, one of the best things I've found is to invite ANOTHER kid over - I've had to experiment a bit to find which friends can play well with DS and vice versa without a grownup constantly hanging over their shoulders - but it's a wonderful way to let them satisfy their need to chatter while getting a word in edgewise with your DH.

As for repeated reworking of the same question - you sound like you've got a very bright and verbally skilled little girl on your hands here! ;-) The example you used makes me think that while some of this sounds like she's just working on you to irritate you into saying "yes", some of this may be her way of making what you say "ok" with her. What I mean by that is, recently, if DS and I come across a toy in a store he's interested in, he'll ask if we might be able to get that. If I say a toy purchase is not on the agenda that day, he'll say something along the lines of, "well, not today, but someday, right?" I take that, and perhaps your daughter's statement that you'll just all go to the park AFTER eating (which after all IS the reason you told her you aren't going to the park then) as her way of trying to reconcile what you're saying with what she wants. If you really MEAN no more that day, you may have to SAY "no more going to the park today, perhaps tomorrow." Otherwise, of course, the first time you've told her "no," you might try making sure you really have her attention, calmly telling her that the answer is not going to change no matter what she says, and that if you hear anything more about it, you'll be sending her to her room for X minutes or whatever you do for a consequence. Then if it does happen, try sending her packing with as little attention to her as you can (all I have to do at this point is point toward the stairs) so that she doesn't get "rewarded" by additional attention of getting to argue about the specifics (how long the time out is going to be, etc. etc.), thereby disrupting your conversation even more.

Another thought for playing alone - if there is some time I need alone for something specific, I try to tell DS how long I'll need, tell him I'd appreciate if he could let me be for that period of time, ask in advance if there's anything he'd like me to get for him beforehand (a drink, etc.) and suggest something specific that he might want to work on during that period (some things that work well for me or others I know are the sandbox, a computer game I suggest, Play-Do, Legos, coloring books/pictures, etc). Sometimes I think it's a little baffling for them if they're confronted with their entire array of toys to pick one thing to settle down with.

Hope some of those ideas help!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 10:02am
5 yr. olds need the social interaction of other children. It is a developmental NEED...not a want or a preference. If she doesn't have other children to play with she will seek this interaction with you & your DH constantly and drive you nuts. (I am a SAHM with an only 5 yr. old.)

Donna's suggestion of inviting a child over is a great suggestion. I notice when we have a playdate, DD is happy to play by herself the rest of that day. We have a regular play group of 3 moms and we rotate houses. The girls play & we chat. We adults look forward to seeing each other even more than the girls. To get either of these situations going, you will need to seek others out. That's where going to early childhood classes, swim lessons, art classes, the park can really pay off. Visit with the other adults there. If you feel it's a good fit, suggest meeting again at a park. After a few meetings, you'll know whether or not you'll want to continue or invite them to your home.

Also find a babysitter who likes to play with children. When my DD was younger, I always preferred high school students. Now I find that a 13 or 14 yr. old is a perfect fit. My DD loves to have a sitter, they draw artwork, go to the park, play make-believe (I can only take so much make-believe!!). Take the time for a "date" or even during the day to grab some time for yourself...whether it's sitting at a coffee shop with a good book or having your nails done. The summer is the easiest time to do this...get started now!

You said you have few friends. It sounds like you need some regular interaction with others. Take a community ed. class in a subject you like, an exercise class, make a weekly date with a girlfriend who has a child your age. I love my DD, but if I didn't have my "moms group", an occasional lunch with a friend (adults only) or playdates for my girl to look forward to, I would lose my MIND!

BTW my DD has interrupted this email 3 times talking about her plans for her Thursday playdate. Sarah, reaching out may be difficult for you, but I promise you it will be well worth it! Good luck & let us know how it's going! JoAnn

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 11:01am
Thanks for info and Ideas!!

My daughter is very smart, nothing gets by her nor does she forget anything!! She is very advanced for her age. She does start kindergarten this fall!! Yeah!!

She is learning 3 other languages, she know how to use the computer, install her games, find her websites........write her name address, my parents address, she can identify 6 other countries on a globe ect...

There is a woman who moved into our apt. building (it is mostly seniors tht live here) she has a 5 yo. dd, who she gets every other weekend. So there is some one who she can play with.

I am getting a baby sitter to come to the house when I start working at our clients office. So that will help alot.

But I have friends and they are always busy....and everyone is going on vacation!

My dh just can't understand that adult time is needed. This comes with culture and is a challenge.

I will keep you posted.

PLease read my other post........that is another problem in it's self!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-28-2003 - 2:54pm
Hi Sarah! It's so nice to see that you are comfortable enough to share so much about yourself and yourfamily with us. I hope we can offer some support to encourage you to continue doing just that. =)

I can also relate to your situation, having a 5 year old myself. He is very bright, and uses that to his advantage. LOL He knows how to phrase things so they make sense and for the second it stumps you with what you're going to say next. He pretty much monopolizes our time if we allow it.

There are so many wonderful suggestions offered to you by our board members. I just want to add to their support.

I think you are going to have to be as firm with hubby as you are with DD about time to yourself. He may not understand why you need it, and in all honesty he doesn't NEED to. *wink* YOU need it and you should claim it. I don't man tell him ot take a hike and do what you want, but I DO mean, make some time in your schedule that is just for you. If he asks why this should happen, reply with because I want it, period. We don't need others to "approve" of our wants and desires. If you need something, you get it for yourself. It is that simple. As long as it isn't hurting anyone is a genuine manner, I see nothing wrong with it.

Some ways to get your time in are:

Plan some time after the two of them are asleep. I used to stay up a little after DH and DS were sleeping, and light some candles while I'd bathe.

During the day, as you eat lunch, play some classical music to calm the house a bit.

Have quiet time during the day for your DD. She can read, watch a movie or something quiet, but the rule is she doesn't get up from bed (or sleeping bag). It doesn't sound like much, but just an hour of not answering questions can be bliss.

Plan a date for you and DH. When you two are connected in that way, it adds support and you may not feel as overwhelmed. PLUS, she sees that mommy and daddy WILL get their time together. If you two are happy, her life is of better quality.

Get to a playground during the day. Other moms are looking for you, too! =)

McDonald's Play Place and an ice cream can be a blessing. She's not he only child in need of social skills, LOL!

In addition to anything you do for yourself, just be firm with the people around you. If they see you are serious about your sanity, they will be too. Don't be nervous to claim what is due to you. This board will help lots....even if you can't see one another, the support is fabulous! I have often found myself running to the PC to see who wrote to me onboard that day.

Things will get better. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are a super mommy, or your daughter wouldn't be so advanced, and happy. She is only claiming what she wants. Mom, you taught her that's OK, so do it for YOU, too! =)

Janet =)

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