My son is 4 1/2. He's been in daycare and preschool since he was 6 months old. As such, he has been surrounded by other kids every weekday for his whole life. As an introvert, I totally feel empathy for his situation. He sometimes complains to me and my husband that when at school, he wants to be left alone or have quiet/alone time. However, when we talk to his teachers about this, they act surprised and say that he's as active, social and talkative as all the other kids.

On the weekend, he wants nothing more than to enjoy his "stay home day." He wants to stay home and play with his cars and trucks, and it's hard to get him to go out. I sometimes let him stay home...but I start to get cabin fever and feel like we both get bored and start getting frustrated with the situation. So, I struggle with this -- is it good to give him that experience of just enjoying being at home? Is this a sign that his environment is not right for him and he's out of balance? Or, should we schedule activities and outings and recognize that he's just never going to want to shift gears, regardless of what he's doing? My inclination is to give him one solid day at home and then schedule something fun for us to do on the other.

  • How does he react once you take him out over the weekend. Does he enjoy in general, or is he grumpy. My #1 does not want to get out of the house at all, but he gets grumpy and worse by lunch time. He is a lot happier when we go out in spite of the reluctance to move.
    – user61034
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 3:26
  • Thanks. He's definitely happy once he gets out.
    – Sheryl
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 5:09

1 Answer 1


Don't be overly concerned. Kids nowadays have lots and lots of scheduled activities and much less time that they can dispose of by themselves for free play. So I wouldn't worry if your son prefers to play with his toys on his "off days".

Also, some kids take a while longer than others before they get interested in making friends and playing with others. In my experience, a four-year-old who doesn't seek out other children in his (limited) spare time isn't exceptional at all.

Give it some time. Don't worry too much about his environment not being right for him. If he doesn't want to do anything but play with his trucks at home, it might mean that he has too little time in which to decide for himself what he wants to do, but it could also just mean that this is what he prefers to be doing at his stage of development. Kids do things exactly when they're ready for them, and if you try to force stuff on them earlier than they're ready for them, you'll just create needless stress for everyone involved.

My suggestion would be to listen to what he tells you. If he tells you he wants more quiet time and complains about not having enough of it in his preschool, then I'd allow him to get it at home for the time being. Then in three months, or half a year, see if he is interested in going out more, or play with a neighbor's kid, etc. By then, he might have changed his priorities. Schedule an activity every other weekend so you don't go crazy at home, but don't feel like you have to "cure" him from his stay-at-home preference right now.

  • 3
    +1 for listening to the kid and stressing the importance of free play. As a compromise, the parents could consider to non-plan their outings, i.e. not going to a place with a plan what they want to do, but go somewhere and “drift” a bit, take their time, see where their feet lead them. Park instead of zoo, exploring a forest instead of going to a place where you have to “do” something or are actively entertained.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 19:32

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