When I was a kid, we were the family who didn’t have the cool gadgets and newest technology. And, my sister and I were restricted to one-hour of TV a week. We didn’t have the latest video games or even cable TV, so we often had entertain ourselves — our parents didn’t think it was their job. After all, isn’t that why my sisters and I had each other? If we dared to tell our parents we were bored, they’d roll their eyes and tell us to go outside or find something to do. And we did.
I can still remember the game of “Stewardess” my sisters and I used to play for hours on a Saturday afternoon — and the game of “Hardware Store” we had going in the garage. I recall the stories we told one another, and the projects we’d make out of nothing. So although I hate to hear my kids whine about having nothing to do, I actually want them to get bored. Here’s why.
1. My Kids Use Their Imagination. When I don’t immediately give in to my bored children by turning on the TV or giving them something to do, their imaginations kick in. They get busy creating forts out of couch cushions or little plays using the costumes and props on hand. They use their brains, bodies and their unfiltered imaginations to create something out of nothing. The next time they’re bored, they know they can get back to the game or play. I hope.
2. Kids Should Play With Kids. My husband and I chose to have more than one child so the kids would have each other to play with, like I had my sister. I’m not a kid. I don’t always want to make a magic carpet out of a blanket, but kids always do.
3. Mom Shouldn’t Be A Kid’s Sole Source Of Entertainment. Part of my job as a mom is to teach my kids to do things for themselves — from getting dressed to picking up their toys. I’m there to help, but I want them to learn to be independent. So it’s also my job to show my kids that they can create their own fun. They need to know that they don’t always need me!
4. My Kids’ Ideas Are Better Than Mine. When my kids play on their own, they make up amazing games. They play “Family” and alternate being the parents or the kids, go on bear hunts in our back yard (there are no bears), or practice science by mixing whatever they can reach from the fridge or cabinets to see what happens. They see endless opportunities for activities where I just see a potential mess. They want to have fun! That’s how it should be.
5. Learning To Be Happy And Alone Is A Valuable Skill. As an adult, I’ve always valued time to myself to be quiet or read a book. I want my kids to know that being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. I want them to know they can always pick up a book or puzzle and be totally content on their own. Who knows, they may even crave it just like I do.
So now that you know how I deal with my bored kids, I want to hear how you deal with yours? Are you quick to turn on the TV? Do you drop everything to play a game with your kid? What are your Mom tricks for dealing with whiney kids who have nothing to do?