‘I’m bored.’ ‘I don’t know what to do.’ Sound familiar?
Inevitable words out of the mouths of our kids during the school break.
It’s great to organise trips, days out and social get togethers but don’t feel you have schedule their every move. Children need the time and space to transition from busy school routines to laid back livin’. It’s ok to feel a bit bored sometimes, they just have to find their own way out of it. (And that doesn’t have to mean endless hours glued to Minecraft.)
A few summers ago I pre-empted the cries of boredom by getting my kids to create a Not Bored Board. It worked a treat and has become an annual tradition.
- Grab a notebook. Get your child brainstorming their ideas for things to do at home that doesn’t involve electronic devices.
- Divide it into sections: Things to do alone – read, puzzles, art, lego, play solitaire, listen to music, build a fort, take photos or videos, work on their Vision Board. Things to do with siblings – board/card games, make believe / dressing up, trains, cars, dolls, outdoor games and sports, singing, dancing, talent show, hide & seek. Things to do with you – games, sewing, arts and crafts, cooking/baking.
- Next, give them a big piece of poster board to turn their brainstorm session into an art project. They can write, draw, clip photos from magazines or print from the internet.
- Proudly hang the Not Bored Board and refer to it whenever they’re stuck for what to do.
Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting has also posted a blog about boredom busters. Check out her great list in case your kids need a few more ideas.
Top tip: The most effective time to do this is before school breaks up, when they’re still dreaming about how great all of that free time will be!
A bored child really struggles to think of anything to do and your suggestions never seem to appeal. Get them to create their board before they’re bored and the ideas come fast and furious.
While they’re off occupying themselves, use the time to get your own things done and to have a little me time. You’ll have more energy and patience when you get small breaks from the kiddie action. Fact.
Reward your children for periods of entertaining themselves by having quality time with you afterwards. No checking emails, Facebook or prepping dinner. They’ll soon learn that by occupying themselves for a while each day, they’ll have your undivided attention later. Good for them – and you.
Have you got the Project Me ‘Summer Strategy Kit’ for parents and kids yet? Grab yours here!
In the comments below, share your thoughts on kids and boredom. Do you tend to schedule in a lot of fun or leave them to figure it out? Are they hooked on electronic games? Do you think they’d go for making a Not Bored Board? What ideas can you add?
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Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s, set goals and improve their lives one small step at a time.
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