mom hack?

This Mom Never Plays Pretend With Her Kids & Says She's Better Off For It

"I just said no to them every single time they asked me."

TikTok mom, K.C. Davis, admitted in a recent TikTok video that she does not play with her kids, and ...
K.C. Davis / TikTok

TikTok mom and “Struggle Care” influencer K.C. Davis admitted in a recent TikTok video that she has never played with her kids — and she likes it that way. In a now-viral video, Davis made waves by unabashedly admitting that she tells her kids “no” over and over when they ask to play with her.

Why does she say no? Because she thinks it encourages independent play and gives her and her husband needed down time.

“I can already hear the hate comments on this video, but I'm going to give you this precious parenting information anyways,” she began. “The reason that I have children who are four and six that let me sleep in on a Saturday: because they'll just go play.”

She says it took years of conditioning, but it’s been worth it.

“The reason I can go and read a book while they play — that they're able to play independently — is because I just said no to them. Every single time they asked me to play with them for years. And eventually, they stopped asking and just went off and played.”

Davis could hear the mom-shaming and criticism coming from her a mile away, so she decided to give more insight into why she chose this parenting tactic to help parents better understand where she’s coming from.

“I'm not saying, ‘Don't spend time with your kids.’ I'm not saying, ‘Don't be playful with your kids.’ I'm not saying, ‘Don't connect with them.’ Okay, I'm saying that I established a culture in my house that adults do not play with toys. Adults do not pretend to play,” she continued.

Instead, Davis bonds with her kids in other ways, like baking, doing art projects, and going on walks. Davis and her husband just put together a solar system project for the kids, she added, “because they said they were interested in planets.”

“Then my husband set up a science experiment for them in the shower, and they're now doing that by themselves,” she explained.

“We just ordered some Indian food and when they get out of the shower, I've got to probably get in bed and read a book and eat some Indian food with their dad, and they will be expected to just play like kids.”

Davis explained that the road to alone time while kids play independently is paved with a road of rejection.

“...Nobody tells you that the way that you get there is by saying no a lot and they're sad about it and they're mad about it,” she warns, speaking of kids who might take the rejection personally at first while also validating those feelings of guilt.

“I can tell you fast forward a couple of years, they are happy and creative and they have parents that are loving and responsive and they are secure enough to just go play and be kids.”

As to how to go about saying “no” to playing with kids, Davis says: don’t be an a**hole.

Instead, she offers up phrases like, “No thanks, sweetheart! I just want to watch you play!” or “No thanks, sweetheart! I'm not really a pretend person, but do you want to do something else together? Do you want to snuggle? Do you want to bake?”

“And then when they got old enough to not need the constant supervision, they were already used to engaging themselves,” she concluded.

After admitting she doesn’t play pretend or toys with her kids, several TikTok users couldn’t believe Davis’ point of view.

“This is actually so sad,” one user wrote.

“Saying ‘they eventually stopped asking…’ like it was a positive thing is WILD,” another wrote.

“I had a mom who didn’t play. She spent time w us ONLY in ways she enjoyed or found relevant as you mention here. We don’t talk now that I’m an adult,” one user said.

“This makes me sad. Some of my fave childhood memories with my parents were pretend play. I have twins now and love recreating those moments with them,” another said.

While several hundred other commentators had trouble understanding Davis’ parenting tactic, parenting coach Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta said in a response video that she sees exactly where Davis is coming from with her lack of interest in pretend play.

“The truth is I don't really do a lot of pretend play with my kids either. I don't like it,” she admitted.

“As a matter of everyday course, I would rather spend high-quality time baking, going on a walk, going to the zoo, doing a project. So, yes, play is important, but pick ways to play with your children that you also enjoy.”

She continued: “When you're having fun your child is going to be having more fun. When you feel connected they're going to be feeling even more connected. I do not feel connected if I am playing Barbies, Paw Patrol, any of that kind of make-believe stuff. It's not fun for me, and I guarantee you if I'm not having fun they are having even less fun.”

Like Davis and Hague-Zavaleta both said, there are more ways to bond with our kids than pretending the floor is lava. My brain, like Davis and Hague-Zavaleta, just doesn’t understand pretend play. I’d so much rather be at the farm or the library reading books on the floor or playing with Play-Doh than playing “pirates” or some other made-up game.