Inviting Boredom on Purpose? (Episode 288)
"Moooooooommmm! I'm booooooooored!" Ahh, boredom - that horrid mindset that enters into all our homes uninvited. What do you do when your child is bored? If you listened to our True Parent Struggles: Screentime episode, you know that boredom is a sure follower of cutting out screens in your home!
So what can you do? We tackle it in today's episode.
Mommy, I'm Bored!
Oh boy - when we hear this, the tensions mount. It's so much easier to just stick them in front of a screen, right? Yet...we want something more for our children - and for us - than simply observing life.
How do you get your kids to dive in, try new things, get creative? Sometimes it happens organically, and at other times, it might require a bit of prompting.
Here are some tactics we've used in our household to eliminate the boredom plague.
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"There are no uninteresting things...only uninterested people"
Beat Boredom with this Acronym
This little beauty we printed off and put on our fridge when the girls were younger:
When we go through the acronym above, there are some simple things we can add to ensure we aren't just barking at our children to just do something!
- Be creative: Something we've found helpful is "strewing". Strewing, in the homeschooling world, essentially means scattering things around that may be of interest to your child and letting them stumble upon them! Here are 100 strewing ideas to get you started. Plus, simply setting up your "creativity studio" for easy access - having crayons, pencils, paper, etc accessible for children helps them get in the driver's seat on how they will create.
- Outdoor play: Don't go overboard with outdoor toys. Let nature be their playground. Climbing trees, building forts and lean-tos, creating fairy houses or even nature pictures just by organizing rocks and stones into a pattern...all of these are opportunities for your children to explore nature.
- Read a book: If you want to push this...be the example. If they never see you read, it's hard to enforce it on your children. We've added morning reading time for the whole family - nothing on technology - and it's been amazing. Have your children read out loud to each other as well. Remind them that you are not just their push-button entertainment. In addition to reading, open the door to journalling and writing!
- Exercise: Just getting out and getting active can be so helpful. Let them get out that energy. Join them sometimes - set a timer and do a quick round of tag. Do some yoga. Have a quick energy boost with your children, yet be sure to set some clear parameters so it's not just something they beg for all the time.
- Do something helpful: This is one I absolutely love. I tell my girls to "Stop, look around. Be aware. What needs to be done or who could be helped?" I want to train their minds to look for things to do that is beyond themselves and that may be helpful for someone else. The more we can instill awareness about their impact on others, the better.
- Still struggling? Google a "bored jar" for ideas
Some additional resources for you
- Struggling with how your kids are acting, or how to relate to each other? Maybe it's time to get some outside help.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Let your kids be bored! Experiment with scheduling times with literally nothing on the agenda.
Don't always have a solution. Be vague - simply say "be creative" vs. offering exactly what to do.
Get to know your child and what they want to do...and keep in mind their own beautiful personality style. The uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.