“Moooom! I’m BORED!” might be the three most dreaded words in the English language. I tend go into panic mode. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I do feel like that’s my cue to keep my kids entertained, NOW! I’ll search my mental rolodex of activities and games, or bring out a stack of books to read to them. I confess that sometimes TV and electronics have come to the rescue. It’s a lot of pressure. I love spending time with my kids, but I’m a parent, not a professional children’s entertainer. Lately I’ve been thinking that I need to back off and let the kids learn to keep themselves entertained from time to time, even without electronics or TV.
Last Sunday, I decided to give it a try. We had absolutely no plans. No play dates, no recitals, no floor hockey, no birthday parties. I was on the verge of planning activities when I realized: We could just stay home. The kids can figure out what to do, while I enjoy some alone time with my husband. It was wonderfully liberating! They kept themselves busy for hours. The only rule was no electronics. My conclusion: Boredom is a stimulus for intellectual and physical activity. Managing boredom is an important life skill worth developing. When I think about what the kids learned, I could not have created an equivalent educational activity for them if I tried. Here are some action shots with a few comments:
Reading on the Kindle (the only electronic allowed.) Lessons learned: – Reading is fun. – You can be busy and happy in your own company.
Creating a “picnic” and “school” for her brother’s favourite stuffies. Lessons learned: – Creativity and imagination have no bounds. – It’s fun to play with others. – Siblings can be good friends. - Role-playing helps kids understand the world around them, and to imagine their lives in the future. -It helps to have markers and other materials for some inspiration.
My son playing with his lego helicopter creation. Lessons learned: -Trying something different could lead to a new hobby. Amazing what new hobbies kids can discover with a few unstructured hours on their hands. My son never plays with his lego, since he’s a car and monster truck guy. Now he’s into the lego. -Visual/spatial skills. – Building and combining shapes is a creative and fun activity.
“Yoga class.” Lessons learned: – Physical activity is fun. (Admittedly, they probably could have used more running around outside.) – Teaching other kids new skills is rewarding. – Being silly with siblings is fun.
In case you thought my kids are perfect, I didn’t take action shots of the glitches: A very very messy house, and a few sibling fights. Still worth it. The next time I hear “Mooooom! I’m BORED!,” I might just sit back with my favourite book and a cup coffee. I might just embrace the moment, and think of it as a golden educational opportunity. After all, learning to manage boredom simply proves that life is never boring. So much to do, so much to learn!
How do you manage the “Moooooom! I’m BORED!” moment?