Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Mom, I'm Bored!"

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In honor of summer, this is the "Mom, I'm Bored" edition of Works For Me Wednesday.

First of all, you should know that whenever I hear any of my children tell me they are bored, I clap my hands and squeal and do a little tap dance, (I took in jr. high) and then I hand them a toilet brush.

That is the standard assignment for anyone who dares to utter those dreaded words, so, as you can imagine, I hardly ever hear that complaint. Why, I can't even remember the last time anyone said it.

My children are pretty good at keeping boredom at bay, and here are a few things I do to encourage them to figure out for themselves how to keep from being bored.

Go to the library regularly. I let them check out lots of books. As in, I had to get special permission from the librarian to exceed the regular limit.

Have reams of blank paper and crayons, markers, and colored pencils available. My kids spend lots of time making books, posters, sending letters, etc.

Have games available. Battleship, Monopoly, Operation, and Stratego are some favorites around here.

Keep the television off. When they aren't accustomed to being entertained, they will actively seek to entertain themselves.

Have plenty of popsicles on hand and insist that they be eaten outside. (I also insist that if I find any popsicle trash outside, there will no popsicles for the remainder of the week.)

Tell them to come back inside as soon as they are ready to tackle a list of chores you have put together. They will stay out there for a good, solid hour at least.

I'm not sure why it is, and I know it isn't because we are involved in tons of extra activities, because we aren't, but my children really don't get bored. They occasionally complain about not having enough time in the day to get all of their playing and imagining and exploring in before bedtime.

They really are very imaginative about keeping themselves busy with exploring the world around them. (Check out the post where I documented them watching ice melt.) I suspect that this could be because they have plenty of time each day to decide for themselves what to do. They are accustomed to planning their own free time instead of having it planned for them.

Another factor that plays into this, I think, is that since we have a list of things each child is expected to accomplish each day (chores, copy work, Bible, math practice), when they get to their free time, it is seen as a treat for them to explore all the opportunities available to them.

How about you? How do you handle bored kids?


Sharon said...

I especially love #4!! I think that is the BEST thing you can do for your kids, starting when they are very young! We turn off the TV and then the boys become Batman/Superman/Spiderman and start saving the world! Love that!!!

It Feels Like Chaos said...

I am so doing #6 -- awesome! My kids play outside but come in and out bringing all kinds of mess each time, maybe that would cut down on the in & out!

Angie said...

I had to LOL about the melting ice. But, you know what? It gave me a really cool idea of something to try with the kids. Now...to write it down before I forget. ;)

April said...

my kids try not to say the B-word because I can always find something to do(they might not like it)

{ L } said...

I LOL after reading about your toliet brush dance...too funny!! I really like all your ideas! Thanks for the inspiration.

Kim said...

#4 is a challenge for me with the six-year old. I have no problem with the older ones, but he falls into such an age gap that he tends to gravitate there and I have been lazy enough to let him in the downtime. I will do better!

I completely agree with you about keeping them busy with their responsibilities. My older ones feel very much like the day gets away from them and have never said they are "bored".

Happy Summer Connie!

Sherry said...

LOL! Love #6! :D Great ideas!

Holly said...

Oh, I recognize that happy dance. I do it too. :) I *might* even throw in a little "whoop" or two, or shout "PARTY!"

(That always means...CLEANING PARTY!)

Nope...never do hear the word "bored" around here. :)

Raise Them Up said...

We moms must think alike! We have cleaning parties too! Lol! Love your ideas!

Nikki said...

Very good post. I've noticed the only times that my kids whine to me with boredom is if they've watched kid movies all day. It's like they forgot how to think for themselves and explore and play.

Occasionally I have a toddler follow me around like my shadow "helping" me with things. I don't mind that-- usually. Then I know where that one is while the bigger kids play in the backyard for hours.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll add that popsicle routine to our list! thanks

Heather said...

Great tips! I'll have to keep these in mind for when my little one is older.

Janis @ SneakPeek said...

I love the toilet brush idea. LOL. I'll have to remember that one.


Emily said...

I love this! Thanks for the ideas...especially the chores when you come inside. LOL! The way you approach summer reminds me very much of my childhood summers, which were always wonderful.

Brenda said...

You have a real evi....smart streak in you!!!!

Phillips Family said...

I am so glad I found your blog!

I just posted my summer schedule today. I find that having a mixture of schedule things as well as unstructured time really keeps the "antsy child syndrome" out of our house.

Mimi said...

What a good Mom! "Turn off the TV" Yes, yes, I say you have the right idea.
It was great meeting you last nite, I wish I were more the person to speak up first! What a sweet family has blessed our church! I look forward to visiting more.

Anonymous said...

"whenever I hear any of my children tell me they are bored, I clap my hands and squeal and do a little tap dance, (I took in jr. high) and then I hand them a toilet brush."

Now THAT is funny!

We don't watch a lot of TV either. I'm frequently heard to say, "I
HATE tv. We have a 6 foot, 5 shelf bookcase full of board games.

Last week, I poured a 750 piece puzzle on the dining table. They couldn't help themselves. It was like they were compelled. It's finished now. Next week, 1000 piece puzzle. (I buy them used - they are NOT cheap!)

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