House & Home, Mother, Parenthood

Your Children Are “Bored”…….

The summer holidays are upon us. We’ve done everything we can to plan fun days out and keep our children entertained while their teachers are sipping cocktails by a pool somewhere exotic. We have careful planned out our week to ensure that they are kept active and engaged as much as possible. You are “on it”, feeling organized and a little bit like a superhero if you are really honest with yourself.

Then it hits you like a tonne of bricks. You are smugly filling your coffee cup after a particularly active afternoon at the park. It’s been a good day all round and just like that you are stopped in your tracks. “I’M BORED”. The dreaded words are hurled at you in ugly fashion. It’s not a pretty moment. You have to take a deep breath and keep it together before you respond.

dsc_0117Here are some tips that might help you in these testing moments

1. Suggest house-work. Remind your children that there is always something to be polished, folded or put away in the house. Suddenly their jigsaw puzzles and books don’t seem so unappealing after all….

2. Don’t take it personally. I know this one is difficult. Your children do not think rationally in the way that us adults do. They do not have an emotional understanding as to the lengths you’ve gone to in order to make their week interesting and exciting. Instead take yourself out of the equation and remember that it simply their frustrating and not a dig at you.

3. Try not to rush to their aid. If the word “bored” is immediately met with a suggestion of something exciting to do then the bar is set pretty high going forward. It is important for our children to grasp the concept of not always getting what we want the moment we want it. For example, 11am is too early for wine and Mummy has had to accept that… right?

4. Have an idea “in the bag” for these stressful moments. For example perhaps you have a big box of arts and crafts supplies that only come out every now and then. This can be an inexpensive way to cure your child’s boredom. You may be in the middle of a load of ironing or making the dinner. It will buy you some time. They will have a sense of it being something “exclusive” and a treat. It often does the trick.

5. Play make-believe. This is one of the best ways to engage our children’s imaginations and keep them preoccupied. The best part? It involves very little input from you so you might just be able to multi-task at the same time. In a perfect world we would be available 24/7 for our children’s needs but let’s face it, sometimes you just need to have a cup of tea of finish putting away the laundry. Engaging with our children and playing make-believe can be as simple as asking them about the game they are playing and the fictional characters they are talking about.

6. Make a boredom list. During an arts and crafts session you could help your child devise a list of activities that they enjoy doing in the home. For example it might include jigsaw puzzles, Lego, making music with pots and pans or tidying up with Mummy. Having this list to hand will remind them that there are lots of options when they are feeling bored. They will feel proud to have been part of the process of making the list too. And let’s face it, it might remind you of these activities too….

7. Ask them what they want to do. You might be surprised at just how simple the suggestion might be. It may not be as outrageous as you think.

8. Give them a job to do. A sense of purpose and something that they will feel proud of. It could be collecting all the acorns in the garden or counting all the pasta shells. It is a powerful exercise in trust. It might just help you out too!