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Subject: What do you do with little kids? rss

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Jamie Tang
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Yes, dads & moms are equal. But we all know who takes care of the planning & who says "hunh? there's a schedule conflict?"

We just had this conversation in my house. I've only been saying for weeks that I'll be going out of town for a business trip tomorrow night. He has a wargame group that meets Monday nights. Our usual babysister, Jr's sister, is working tomorrow night.

What do you do with young kids? I'm guessing that by age 8 they will generally play some regular games & entertain themselves. What do you do with toddlers?

We're usually lucky enough to have his grandparents take him overnight on our monthly game days. There's another monthly meeting where there are always lots of kids & they play together in the basement or outside. They have lots of fun & so do we.
 
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Gregor McNish
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We generally work out schedule conflicts in advance, usually with Grannie's help (she still thinks babysitting is a privilege, yay!).

The trickier one is when we have friends over to play. From 8-10 or so, as our daughter gets steadily more feral, we give each other significant "it's her sleep time" looks, until one of us relents, we hold up the game for 5-25 minutes, and put her to sleep.

Before feral-time, she's happy standing at the coffee table watching a wiggles dvd while we play.

If we're lucky, we've timed it just right so our daughter is exhausted and falls asleep right away.
 
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Melissa
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We used to send them to my parents' - but my mother has been sick this year, and unable to look after them.

DVDs make good babysiters blush

I found on game night that I would often end up sitting out from games to feed Otto or just to cuddle her & get her ready for bed. These days, we are more even about it.

When we went to a convention recently, we took the kids with us - and brought my sister-in-law down to mind them while we were there It meant they could still join in, but didn't have to be there all the time.

In the past (and should try to do again, before we leave) we have hired the creche (daycare centre) that my younger daughter attends on a weekend, when it is closed. We call it "Kiddiecon" but it's not a con, just a fun day with friends. The children are free to run around in a secure and childproof environment; the adults are free to set up trestle tables and play games, without having to do the amount of supervision that they would in a private home. For next time, we're considering hiring a friend's daughter to babysit as well.

The other thing I've done (which is not specifically game-related) is to create a google calendar for EACH member of the family. In the past, I'd make appointments for the kids and put them on my own calendar - and then tell my husband when the appointments were. These days, I put the girls' appointments in their own calendars, and then we compare to see who can ferry them there & back. That works much better (especially as I am self-employed - if I don't work, I don't get paid; my husband has an amount of carers' leave that he can use to take them to the dentist etc, without losing cash).

gmcnish wrote:
Before feral-time, she's happy standing at the coffee table watching a wiggles dvd while we play.


Gregor, the first time I read this, I read 'she's happy standing ON the coffee table' - devil
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Denise Lavely
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Hey, if she's HAPPY standing on the coffee table....

The only really effective way we've found to game with toddlers to game with multiple toddlers and a spare spouse. Invite another family with a toddler to come game with you. Make sure one of the spouses doesn't care for games and will be happy to tag along to keep an eye out. This is usually my husband in my setup. The toddlers amuse each other, my husband spends most of the evening reading, with one eye on the toddlers in case they need to be separated, and I and my gaming friends get to play. Tada!! It works!
 
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KK Su
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Denise wrote:
Hey, if she's HAPPY standing on the coffee table....

The only really effective way we've found to game with toddlers to game with multiple toddlers and a spare spouse. Invite another family with a toddler to come game with you. Make sure one of the spouses doesn't care for games and will be happy to tag along to keep an eye out. This is usually my husband in my setup. The toddlers amuse each other, my husband spends most of the evening reading, with one eye on the toddlers in case they need to be separated, and I and my gaming friends get to play. Tada!! It works!


Tried this the other day; only without the spare spouse. I went over to my friend's place with my 2-year-old daughter who plays well with his 2-year-old daughter. Our wives had an "all-ladies" event on, so the plan was that we'd play Nexus Ops while our daughters watched a DVD. Sure enough though, our daughters got tired of the DVD (about 15 minutes in) and came peeking over the dinner table to see what we were up to. From then on, it was "Daddy, what's that?" "It's a piece from this game that.." "It's a butterfly!!" "No, it looks like a butterfly but it really is a DON'T TOUCH THAT! COME BACK HERE AND GIVE THAT BACK!!!" Nexus Ops usually plays very quickly, but with all the interruptions, that particular game took us almost 2.5 hours

What has consistently worked for my wife and I so far is to invite other ppl with no kids of their own over to our place for Games Night. Thankfully, our kids sleep at around 8pm, so we ask everyone to turn up at around 8.30pm. If one of the kids does wake up, it takes 5-10 mins for either me or my wife to put him/her to back to sleep. Meanwhile, everyone else stretches, grabs a drink, etc.
 
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Mark Augustyniak
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I find the follwoing suace works well with small children
1 cup Coconut milk
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tablespoon of coriander ground
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 inch of ginger root


That, or a palmagranite glaze....
 
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Tobias DeSoto
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Just give each kid a few Benadryl with a NyQuil to wash it down about 1/2 hour before the gaming friends arrive.
 
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Ava Jarvis
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I'm enjoying reading this thread. It does seem to fit in Gaming with Kids rather than Women & Gaming, so I've moved the thread over.
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Betty Egan
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Quote:
I've only been saying for weeks that I'll be going out of town for a business trip



"Chicken will be fine."

A common occurance in our house.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Our solution is to limit our gaming to three situations:

1) Gaming events where only one of us goes
2) After the kids are asleep
3) With the kids (they are 2 and 4, but their games are more and more fun all the time)

#1 is my weekly go club. Meets Tuesday evenings. (My wife usually goes out with friends once a week and leaves me at home...so we each get one night a week out of the house doing whatever we want).

#2 is mostly just my wife and I. When we have family visiting, a bigger group. My girls are usually asleep around 8:30-ish, which leaves plenty of time for games that take 2+1/2 hours or less.

This works out better than it sounds. Go is my favorite game, and I get to play that for a few hours a week, plus about once a week I get some fun games with my wife, and a few times a year fun games with the rest of the family...that's OK. My wife isn't nearly as much of a gamer as I am, if she were, we would probably make some other plans.

We tried inviting friends with kids the same age over for Settlers once, but the kids kept needing adult attention, and it just didn't work out so well.
 
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Pat T
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verdelak wrote:
I find the follwoing suace works well with small children
1 cup Coconut milk
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tablespoon of coriander ground
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 inch of ginger root


That, or a palmagranite glaze....



LOL, this came farther down the thread that I throught, WC.
 
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Amy O'Neal
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Mine usually goes with us... She knows (at age 4) not to play with the pieces unless she asks, and she more likely than not, wants to help place the pieces... Of course, she's been around a gaming area since she was born, and we NEVER take her to any of the conventions around here... That would be absolute insanity for a kid that loves to run around...
 
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    What time is bedtime for the kids? I hosted game night for years with the kids going to bed at 6:30 or 7pm. Gaming would ensue afterwards.

    Naturally every family's schedule is different, but for my wife and I a sitter wasn't available and it was invaluable to have the kids go to be at an early time, both for gaming and for a myriad other issues that had a direct impact on our sanity.

             Sag.

    The coriander will be overwhelmed by the garlic and chili powder.
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Billy McBoatface
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Sagrilarus wrote:
What time is bedtime for the kids? I hosted game night for years with the kids going to bed at 6:30 or 7pm. Gaming would ensue afterwards.
Our kids go to bed around 8:30 (we try for 8, but the kids always find ways to procrastinate for at least a half hour).

Wow, though, if your kids went to sleep at 6:30-7, when did they wake up? As it is, Lucy (our 2 year old) is usually the first one awake in the house. If she went to bed 2 hours earlier, she'd be up at 4am... surprise
 
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    Morning starts at 6am for us.

            Sag.
 
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Melissa
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Sagrilarus wrote:
Morning starts at 6am for us.

Sag.


Every time I start to feel envious of people whose kids go to bed at reasonable times, I stumble across a response like this ... and realise that you end up with kids that you can tolerate. We can survive the late nights because 8am is an early morning for Otto (And now, she's starting to settle around 8pm - much more civilised!)
 
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    The commute around here is generally an hour or more, so getting up at six puts us pretty much in line with everyone else.

    We've found that evenings are good sanity time -- a break from the kids when you're tired is very valuable. That said, my wife is generally in bed by ten and I'm not far behind. I suppose if you stay up later and get up later it all works out.

             Sag.


 
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Denise Lavely
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Your kids get up at 6AM? Luxury! My kids get up at 10 o'clock at night, half an hour before they go to bed.

Unfortunately, I'm not kidding as much as I'd like. I sleep very little and always have, the kids seem to have inherited the gene. DD age 7 goes to bed at 9PM and is under strict orders to NOT leave her room until 7AM, but I often see the light on in there and hear her moving about at 5AM. DS age 17 months also goes to bed at 9PM (Dad doesn't get home from work until 7:30, so if we want family dinners there's not much hope of putting him down earlier), and is usually up by 7AM.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Denise wrote:
DD age 7 goes to bed at 9PM and is under strict orders to NOT leave her room until 7AM, but I often see the light on in there and hear her moving about at 5AM.
Reminds me of my nephew, who was an early riser in a family that was otherwise. His parents bought him an alarm clock. My mother noticed this, knew that he got up early even without one, and asked why. "I'm not allowed to get out of bed until after the alarm goes off," he said with a sad look on his face. Kind of turned my whole concept of mornings upside down!
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Denise wrote:
Your kids get up at 6AM? Luxury! My kids get up at 10 o'clock at night, half an hour before they go to bed.

Unfortunately, I'm not kidding as much as I'd like. I sleep very little and always have, the kids seem to have inherited the gene. DD age 7 goes to bed at 9PM and is under strict orders to NOT leave her room until 7AM, but I often see the light on in there and hear her moving about at 5AM. DS age 17 months also goes to bed at 9PM (Dad doesn't get home from work until 7:30, so if we want family dinners there's not much hope of putting him down earlier), and is usually up by 7AM.


    We struggled with all four. Each was looking to rise at 5am and we had to set very strict rules to keep them in bed.

    Our two youngest are 4 now and we can tell them they have to go back with some level of success. The problem is that with two of them the one insists on waking the other, even if the other still wants to sleep. We end up with a ragged kid for the day. These are the things no one tells you about twins.

             Sag.

 
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William Crispin
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When my girls, who are fraternal twins, were younger they were a handful for that reason. They had, and have, completely different personalities, schedules etc.

When they were little bedtime was 7:30, then it moved to 8:00 around 6, and 8:30 around 8. Now they are 9 and it is summer so they are frequently up until after 9:00 but at least they are now old enough to generally respect when we have guests over.

There is usually about a 1/2 hour procrastination period also.

When we had people over to game in the evening when either the girls or my older teens were young we would usually send them to their room early with some entertaiment and one parent would take the duty of sending them back in when they would pop out. We usually had pretty good luck with them hanging out and then bugging us a couple of times and then falling asleep.

We also found a portable DVD player that kids could borrow to their rooms on "special" occasions worked well with kids who are 4 or older.
 
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wwscrispin wrote:
When my girls, who are fraternal twins, were younger they were a handful for that reason. They had, and have, completely different personalities, schedules etc.

When they were little bedtime was 7:30, then it moved to 8:00 around 6, and 8:30 around 8. Now they are 9 and it is summer so they are frequently up until after 9:00 but at least they are now old enough to generally respect when we have guests over.

There is usually about a 1/2 hour procrastination period also.

When we had people over to game in the evening when either the girls or my older teens were young we would usually send them to their room early with some entertaiment and one parent would take the duty of sending them back in when they would pop out. We usually had pretty good luck with them hanging out and then bugging us a couple of times and then falling asleep.

We also found a portable DVD player that kids could borrow to their rooms on "special" occasions worked well with kids who are 4 or older.



    Holy cow, you pretty much just described my life.

             Sag.
 
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Charles Donnell
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Generally, we either find a game they like to play that's appropriate for their age and skill level, setup up an alternate activity for them (WIE being one of the more popular) or just turn them out (let them play out in the yard if the weather is cooperating).

Generally, have a plan or three readied in advance seems to be the key to keeping everyone occupied and happy during a gaming session.

 
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wmshub wrote:
Our solution is to limit our gaming to three situations:

1) Gaming events where only one of us goes
2) After the kids are asleep
3) With the kids (they are 2 and 4, but their games are more and more fun all the time)

I guess we adopted this plan except for #1. Our kids (2.5 and 4) play a few games like Thomas & Friends Bingo or Hide 'n' Seek Safari and there was a brief flirtation with Gulo Gulo. But mostly, their games aren't too interesting, but it's fun to watch them play.

We do, on rare occasion, play a game after they're asleep, but I just don't really like 2-player games very much.

Option 1 doesn't work for us. We each like to play games and there is little opportunity around here to do so. I guess we could alternate driving an hour each direction to the weekly game group in Greenville, but we'd feel guilty that we're out of the house playing games without the other one. Plus, if a kid wakes up and Parent Of Choice isn't there (each kid seems to gravitate to one of us), there'd be Hell to pay. So, we just don't do the Mom's/Dad's Night Out thing.
Quote:
We tried inviting friends with kids the same age over for Settlers once, but the kids kept needing adult attention, and it just didn't work out so well.

We think about this from time to time, but they're just still too young to deal with it. Either they'd be too interested in our game or the kids would all be pestering one another or be "too quiet" in the other room (meaning the entire group is doing something like throwing all the toilet paper down the can or something like that).

So, we just bide our time until the kids and other local parents' kids are able to play together reasonably well. Then, maybe, we can have some sort of afternoon of gaming followed by dinner.

As to the question of bedtimes. Our youngest seems to have just given up any semblence of a nap (he's 2.5). The elder (4) hasn't napped in a good long time. So, when he doesn't nap, we can get him to bed around 8:30, matching the four-year-old (previously, he would stay up until more like 9:45).

That sounds great ("Hey, invite people over and put the kids to bed at 8:30 and start playing!"). But the problem is that the people would have to arrive after the kids are asleep. With other folk in the house, there's no way they go to sleep. Plus, I have to lie with the elder and my wife has to lie with the younger to get them to sleep, so what to do with guests while they wait 30-45 minutes for us to get the kids asleep? Hence, we'd have to get people over after they fall asleep and we've had time to tidy up. Just doesn't work.

I hope the day will come where we just say "OK, bedtime" and they somehow magically toddle off to bed, lie down, and go to sleep. Yeah, like that's gonna happen.
 
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We are semi-planning a larger games day for later in the year. I am thinking of hiring a teenage babysitter to play with/mind the kids.
 
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