What To Do When You Hear — Mom I’m Bored
MOM, I’m bored!
The words many a mama has dreaded especially when the school holidays roll around. We don’t ‘do’ bored in this house, which was also they way I was raised too!
Boredom is a state of mind when we lack stimulation and it often brings an unpleasant feeling too. Parents often worry that this state of mind is unhealthy for their child and so go into panic mode as they try to feed their kids one activity after another.
Lyn Fry, a child psychologist from London says “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child is never going to learn for themselves.”
As parents, our role is to prepare our kids to be functioning adults in society. Force-feeding them activity after activity is not helping them to achieve that.
According to Psychology Today “Children who experience a lack of programmed activity are given an opportunity to demonstrate creativity, problem-solving, and to develop motivational skills that may help them later in life.”
Bored just doesn’t happen, who has time to be bored when there are so many interesting things to do from reading books to building mega ninja lego castles? Yet I know it is a major gripe of many parents so here are my top tips to boredom-busting…
How To Prevent Even Getting To The
“I’m Bored” Stage
Choose your toys wisely
I’m a big advocate of children expanding their imagination and being left to their own devices, we have always bought open-ended toys such as blocks, Lego, train sets and marble runs. I believe kids learn more with open-ended toys rather than those “pushing buttons –> results in an action” type of things.
Open-ended toys can be played with for longer and can be used in so many different ways.
Sometimes your kids just need a bit of a push to get them going. Give them a story starter or suggest re-enacting a film that they have recently watched or a book that they love.
Set up an environment that encourages them to work and play independently
This brings in the Montessori influence, but if you have activities out on the shelf of the child to select when they feel like it, it takes the pressure off you to ‘entertain’ them and leaves them with the responsibility of figuring things out by themselves.
Depending on your child’s age and ability it will depend on the type of activity and sometimes you will want to supervise. You could introduce a system where activities on a specific shelf are independent ones and on another shelf are to be done with you. Anything pretty much goes here but here are some ideas…
- Craft kits
- Science experiments
- Scavenger hunts: print some out HERE
- Recipes or an invitation to cook
- Make/write and send some postcards
- Story writing kit – printable HERE
- Challenge to find the answer to a question (one they have been asking about)
- Challenge to build/make/create something
- Set up some of the activities from the 193 Little Adventures Club HERE
- Items from the recycling bin, tape, glue, stickers etc.
- Art, either free flow or famous artist inspired (plenty of ideas in my book HERE)
- A new book or magazine
- Fitness challenge (great way to get their wriggles out)
- Have a look through the jojoebi library and see which free resources would be a good match in there.
- More ideas and how to present them HERE
Another idea is that at the start of the school break you brainstorm together all the things your child likes to do, write them on a list and post it on the wall. Anytime you start to hear the dreaded “I’m bored” just point to the list.
A couple of tips to help make this work, you need to “follow the child” and include things that they are currently interested in. And, don’t put everything out at once, limiting the choice makes it easier for the child to decide what to do and will help them spend longer on each activity, building their concentration.
Don’t be afraid to let your child get bored, the more they get used to entertaining themselves, and I’m talking about sitting goggle-eyed in from of the TV or iPad here folks! They will become more independent and more creative thinkers.
Any child left long enough, after complaints of being bored, will find something to do, they might sulk about it first, but they’ll get over it. It’s not your job to provide them with entertainment 27/7!
And my final golden tip – inherited from my own mom… offer to find them something to do, in my mom’s case it was always some type of housework or chore! Amazing how quickly you can find something interesting to do when the alternative is scrubbing the toilets!
If you are busy, which I’m sure you are. Do check out 193 Little Adventures Club – printable culture packs for curious kids. Every month you get a new pack to keep the kids busy and learning!
There are activities that you can use from the FREE jojoebi resource library, sign up below to get your access pass.