We are in the middle of Summer vacation. The early excitement of sleeping in and staying up late, family adventures and no daily obligations has disappeared. We have logged hours in our minivan and travelled across 3 provinces (actually 56 hours, but who’s counting). The only thing left to do is be “bored”. When did being bored become such a concern and how did it become our problem as parents to solve the terrible situation? I personally have not experienced boredom in 7 years, and even then I don’t think I was ever bored but looking for something fun to do. Our children are the same: they don’t have jobs, no huge responsibilities (milking cows, chopping fire wood, weeding gardens). How is it possible to be bored when your job, at this point in life, is to play (quietly, and away from mommy)?
In our house, boredom doesn’t exist, and this is why. I believe that boredom is the stage right before the greatest ideas erupt from our minds. If, as parents, we jump in and head to Pinterest to find activities for our children, how will they learn to be creative and amuse themselves? When our children are “bored”, get excited for them. Give them a list of materials around the house they haven’t played with in a while. Let them come up with the ideas. Unless you truly love playing activity director, don’t start. Children’s minds are amazing and by letting them come up with their own ideas to bust their boredom, they will become more creative, resilient, determined, independent, and confident. At the end of the day, giving our children the tools to be self-sufficient adults is our goal as parents. With the kids playing happily, you may get a big chunk of our daily obligations completed and with no one waiting for you to entertain them you may even get to relax and enjoy a book, hot cup of tea/coffee, read your favorite blogs, or nap.
3 Boredom Busters
- Limit screen time. Not because it’s evil, but because when they have only limited access to it, the screens will become more useful to you, rather than when it is running all day. As well, by controlling the times of day they can use it, as a parent you can allow extra time after they complete their chores.
- Have loose materials. Open ended toys and craft supplies give children more opportunities to create and longer periods of play. Board games seem like a good idea, but someone has to play with the children (MOM), and pre-packaged crafts limit how and what a child can create and how long they will play with it. Stock your house with paper, scissors, glue, pompoms, crayons, and paint. Open ended toys are ones that don’t require batteries, which allow children to play with them however they choose. Lego, blocks, tractors, trucks, dolls, and figurines are great examples.
- KICK THEM OUTSIDE!! The benefits of playing outside, even just being outside, are innumerable. Not to mention the house stays clean, you can’t hear them argue (which means they get to solve their own issues), and the fresh air helps them sleep.
What are some of your summer boredom busters?