Parents: Are girls harder to entertain than boys?

I only have two boys myself. To keep them entertained, it’s pretty easy; you just stick a video game in front of them and they’re good to go for hours on end.

But girls tho’? As far I know they aren’t so much into the video game as the boys. Do they need more parental interaction than the boys do?

Just curious.

Sez who?! I was an avid gamer as a little girl, and frankly not much has changed now I’m a big girl.

For endlessly entertaining my 11-month old daughter, I have two words: El. Mo.

I think my head just exploded.

OK, first I’ll set aside the scolding re: entertaining boys is limited to sitting them down in front of video games and ignoring them for “hours on end.” OR “Endlessly entertaining” your todler via Elmo on TV. Insert your own diatribe here.

But there is an interesting point here. [Please insert general “in my experience” disclaimer here and apply it to the whole post so I can be free to paint with a broad brush and not deal with a lot of individual exceptions that will inevitably follow.] Girls tend to be more verbal and more interested in building relationships with their caregivers through talk and experimenting with process. Boys tend to be more locomotive, and build relationships through final results and showing what they can accomplish. What this means in the real world is that if you have two similarly aged children and you give them both paints and paper, the girl will generally want you to sit next to her and talk about what she’s doing before and as she’s doing it, while the boy will be happy to paint on his own and show you his work when he’s done. They both want feedback, but the girl will want it during the process, and the boy wants it for the final result.

OR, say they’re both playing with a ball in the yard. The girl is more likely to hold onto the ball and talk for a bit, or to try kicking it, then throwing it, then bouncing it, and to keep a running commentary and ask for feedback about how her different techniques work and if she’s doing it “right”. She will measure success based on your catching the ball - if you can catch it, she’s done it “right”. A boy is more likely to keep kicking or keep throwing or keep bouncing (whatever he started with), but doing it harder, faster and higher, making it more intense until there’s no way you can catch it off him. He’s succeeded when the game is no longer two-player, in effect.

OR, say they’re playing with a kitchen set. Again, the girl is more likely to want you to sit and listen to her talk about cooking and what she’s doing, the boy just as happy if you’re sitting off in another area of the room so he can bring you your “meal” when it’s done.

So I’d say even with real interaction activities (as opposed to passive entertainment or video games), girls generally demand a bit more of their caregiver’s ongoing attention and interaction, simply because they’re interested in sharing process, where boys are interested in sharing product.

Even with video games, girls want me to sit with them and watch them progress through the game. Boys want me to check out their final score.

There are also very few video games that are designed and marketed for girls (and most of those geared at shudder shopping), and most girls I know may play a few rounds of Mario Kart or Halo, but just aren’t held in thrall as long as boys. This goes for preschoolers all the way to college and beyond. I have male friends who will literally play video games all day long, not even pausing to eat. I have no female friends with that level of dedication.

Please no. I thought I had at least 6 or more months left before that started with my 8-month old daughter.

Except for the video game example, I think girls are easier to entertain. They will play for hours with dolls, sticker books, or even colored drinking straws. Video games work for girls too, especially Gameboys on car trips.

It’s probably not that boys are easier to entertain, it’s that you know better what keeps a boy’s attention. You just have to figure out what girls like to do. In my experience, girls are more into dumb shit. Find some dumb shit for her to do and that should keep her preoccupied in most cases.

The trouble with boys, is that in absence of something interesting to do, will take to breaking stuff or each other.

Well, if you’re following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, you still have 16 months. They say no TV under 2 years (although even I will admit to watching the occasional Sesame Street or Good Eats with WhyBaby. She lurves Unca Alton!)

Actually we have been good about the no TV. While it is on when she’s in the room she’s always more interested in her toys. I was thinking more about the toys that do nothing but talk all the time. We got her one of those books that makes music, she loves all of one song. The madness hasn’t set in just yet.

Yeah, boys are easier to entertain with video games. In general, I’d say that’s not true.

When I was a little girl I would spend hours and hours and HOURS in my room playing with dolls or later, my dollhouse. I would also spend a lot of time reading or coloring/drawing.

I have no idea what my brother was doing during those many hours. Probably at his friend’s house - playing video games. But he has proven to be 10x more social than me so I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a boy or because he was older or it’s just in his genes.

Heh. I started out with this one with all those hippie chick intentions: my child will have only wooden or fabric toys! No plastic! No light-up-things! No blippy bleepy “music” at the push of a button!

This migraine inducer from her grandmother is her favorite damn toy. Followed pretty closely by this brightly colored nightmare.

But I do notice she gets bored with them after a week or so and goes back to her stacking cups (actually, my old measuring cups) and wooden blocks, so I do get a sense of vindication from that. But inevitably she’ll go back to pushing primary colored buttons o’ doom.

I mean “In general, *girls being harder to entertain than boys * is not true.”

Oh, I started out that way too. I even made sure to carefully specify on Whatsit Jr.'s wishlist, “No battery-powered toys.” These days I’m a bit looser with my standards. We mostly avoid buying the blinky battery-powered stuff, but that’s because I know the kids will get a certain amount of it from the grandparents and aunts and uncles. I don’t mind having some blinky battery-powered stuff around, I just don’t want the vast majority of their toys to fall into this category. Right now I think we have a good mix of talking books/music-playing/flashing stuff and stacking blocks, Playmobil playsets, toy kitchen implements, etc.

My kids also watch a fair amount of TV, which is also something I said would never happen, back when I was pregnant the first time. (I said a lot of things back when I was pregnant the first time.) But we don’t have cable, so it’s all PBS shows, and we try to limit it to no more than 3 hours a day. That sounds like a lot even to me as I’m reading this over, but that’s Sesame Street, Between the Lions, Mr. Rogers, Cyberchase, and either Curious George or Dragon Tales. I don’t think we’re exactly destroying their young minds here.

To answer the OP: No, I have noticed no appreciable difference in ease of entertaining boys vs. girls. Then again, we don’t have video games in our house, and this is one thing I don’t see myself budging on; too many bad memories of visiting my mom’s house and having my youngest brother glued zombie-like to his Playstation for the duration of our entire visit. If my kids want to play video games, they can go to their friends’ houses.

Most of the time, it isn’t my job to entertain my kids (2 girls, 6 and 3). That’s their job.

My girls do actually enjoy watching their dad play simple video games like Joust or Lego Star Wars for a few minutes, but they don’t have any video games themselves. They like to play dress-up and pretend, draw and paint, read, and run around outside. I can’t stand shrieky toys, so we don’t have any (and my parents would never dream of buying them either, and my in-laws would but can’t afford it). They have plenty of toys to play with.

If the 6-yo comes up to me and complains of boredom, I tell her to go clean up her room. This earns me a glare, and I explain that it is not my job to keep her from boredom. She has lots of fun stuff to do, and if she’s bored it’s her own fault.