It’s Spring Break. You and your family might be taking a trip. But if you’re not, your children might be saying, “I’m bored. What Should I do?” The phrase “I’m bored” is one of my least favorite things to hear from kids. I’ve felt for a long time that a young person needs to learn that if they are bored, it isn’t up to the adult in charge to fix that. They should be learning to use their own brains to figure out an acceptable activity. We can help them learn.
There is nothing wrong with providing materials and activities that are appropriate for your child to do. But there also isn’t anything wrong with the child having to spend some time thinking about choosing an activity that they like and they know you would approve of. Learning to entertain themselves in an acceptable manner is a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Spending long hours watching T.V. or playing video games is NOT an acceptable choice. This can be detrimental to their brain and their body.
One thing you can do is sit down with them and help them set up some goals for daily activities.
Here is a plan I like to use.
If You Are Bored, Try This.
Five Activities To Do Every Day
1. Help Mom and Dad
Something to help Mom and Dad and keep your space tidy. — There are any number of activities that kids can do that can be helpful. It will serve the purpose of letting the child know that he or she is part of the family unit and is valued as a helpful member. It will also teach him or her how to do life skills. Start young by expecting that your toddler help pick up toys and put his own clothes where they belong and go from there. Although you must judge what kind of tasks are appropriate for your own circumstances, there are all kinds of lists you can look at for acceptable household tasks by age. Here is one that you might find helpful.
2. Learn and Practice
Learning and Practice — Learning takes practice. Even if a child is out of school, he or she needs to practice skills. One practice activity that all children should do is reading. Learning to read and comprehend is a basis for success in our society. School age children should be reading every day. It doesn’t have to be for a really long period, start out short and expand the time. Even toddlers should have books down low or on the floor that they can pick up and look at. You can stop a minute and show a book to a very young crawler. Your attitude about books and their value will set the tone for them. Libraries are great about providing activities for children on school breaks. Don’t forget to let your children check out a few books to bring home to read while you are there.
3. Go Outside
Being outside some each day — Maybe you want your child to help do some things in your yard like pull weeds, or pick up leaves. But, they should also get time to just go outside to play or take time to stop and observe the ants crawling into the hole, or the butterflies sitting on the flowers. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect to go outside. There are benefits of being outside in all kinds of weather as long as your child has appropriate clothing. Here is an article I liked about some of those benefits.
4. Choose What To Play
Choosing something on their own to play — (Not electronics) Most kids have a bunch of toys. And I have found just pieces of paper, crayons, scissors (age appropriate) and glue are great. Another favorite is cardboard boxes of varying sizes. Cardboard boxes can be turned into anything a child imagines. Sure, you can throw in some suggestions, and even sit down with them to do some things. They love it! But give them time to figure out some play activities themselves. and let them complete them on their own. And praise them for finding and sticking to some good activities.
5. Do Something Nice For Others
Making something for someone else — Learning to think about and appreciate others in their families and in their communities is something we all want to encourage. Kids can make pictures and cards for grandparents and relatives, for friends and for the many service people who make our lives better. Maybe one day you and your kids could make cookies and take them to the local fire department. Or they could make cards to thank the postal worker for bringing their mail.
Acknowledge Their Effort
When your children do some of these 5 things, praise them, encourage them, help them if they are stuck. But don’t feel like you have to decide everything for them, or help them with everything. You may not be able to hold them to your adult standards, but over time you can teach them until one day they will be able to do things very well, maybe even better than you do! Also, your praise, your interest in what they are doing and what they accomplished are enough. You don’t have to reward with anything else. We want to get to the point that the reward is a self-reward that the child feels because he or she did something he is proud of or had fun with. Your acknowledgement of them is a huge reward.
If you have children saying, “I’m bored.” I hope this daily plan of 5 points will be helpful. Let me know if you tried them.