Boredom Busters: Turning 'I'm bored' into something awesome this summer
Experts agree that kids need to be bored. Boredom is challenging, it encourages kids to think for themselves, to be independent and to be creative in ways they wouldn’t have been with adult help. When you are bored you have to pull on your natural resources. Boredom is exciting, because you are never far from a great idea.
Boredom can also be really annoying, especially when bored kids direct their energy at summer holiday frazzled parents who would give anything to be bored, just for 5 minutes. So here are some ways to help empower kids to manage their own boredom this summer.
Have some goals
Spend some time at the start of the holidays writing a list of things everyone wants to do and researching what’s out there. Stick the list somewhere everyone can see it. Day Out With The Kids is a great place to find inspiration for local attractions to visit. Books and Pinterest are great for ideas of creative things to do. List things you would like to learn to do, or creative projects to try. Now is a good time to order in any materials they might need, nothing is worse than a solution to boredom you can’t follow through because the shops are shut. Pound shops are brilliant for little boredom busters.
Have a loose schedule
Everyone gets to the holidays ready to do away with timetables, and in need of downtime, but a rough schedule on display or on the calendar can really help kids understand when they are responsible for entertaining themselves. Some children find life without routine too tough, while others love it.
As a work from home parent I find going out in the morning and expending some energy leads to peaceful afternoons of child led boredom busting while I work.
Make a boredom jar
These can be great, but a word of warning! The key to the boredom jar is to make sure you have all the resources to hand each task needs, and that they are independently achievable. It’s really frustrating when they pull out a task and it involves a lengthy trip to the shops for materials or ingredients or it’s an outdoor day out and it’s raining. Go for really easy tasks like chalking on bricks or patio in the garden, baking, drawing a self-portrait or sketching your sibling, teaching the dog a new trick, making a space station out of lego. Pinterest has loads more boredom jar ideas.
Set up activity stations
This is something I did when mine were very little, but it is surprising how it still works for tweens. Leaving inspiring books open strategically ready for when they wake up, or craft materials, long forgotten garden games, board games or toys can lead to all kinds of independent fun. The best bit is they think they stumbled on the fun all by themselves.
Have a holiday book
We always did this as a family, my Dad even read snippets from ours in his speech at my wedding. A scrapbook to draw pictures of what you have been up to, to write a diary entry, or stick in leaflets is a lovely memory of holiday time and a fun boredom buster. Keep it in a folder with glue, sellotape and pens so they can crack on without you. If the grown ups join in too it is much more likely to get written in by the kids, I remember we always wanted to read what our parents had written about us.
Have a chores list
This kills several birds with one stone - boredom, chores and kids’ cash flow. I’m going to draw up a list of chores they can tackle and give each chore a price, for maximum motivation levels. Have spare change to hand, for instant gratification and higher chances of repeat!