Mom! Dad! I’m Bored…
Hmmm. Have you ever heard that pathetic declaration? If you are a parent, you have heard this. If you were ever a kid, I am certain you have uttered this plea.
As summer gets closer, families are thinking about ways to avoid boredom. We want to see children get outside, have plenty of exercise, fun, and make some memories.
Full-time work necessitates finding appropriate childcare for the younger ones and things to do for teens. This adds stress as parents find themselves patching together a combination of summer camps, visits with grandparents, and family vacation. When there are multiple children at different ages, the formula for success gets more complicated, expensive, and takes a professional scheduler to figure out.
There are also the issues of how to keep the summer from becoming one long technological blur. Too much screen time makes Jack a dull boy. Glazed eyes, mumbled responses, zombie-like kids are the result. How to create balance is challenging.
Where does the concept of the lazy, hazy days of summer come in? Too often the coming of summer means more parental stress. What can we do to de-stress the summer for everyone in the family? How can we keep it fun?!
I’m not a magician, but I do have a few thoughts. Take a deep breath. Remember that you don’t have to plan every moment of every day in order to avoid the ‘I’m-bored-it’s-your-problem-to-fix-it’ syndrome. Maybe it isn’t your job to solve the problem of boredom. Wait a minute…. Yes, it is not in the parenting contract that parents are responsible for removing boredom.
We can look at boredom as an opportunity. For your child, it means not having scheduled activity. Not having a list of things to do. Having free time. Children develop decision making skills by deciding what to do with their time. They can read a book, take a walk, lay on their back and watch the clouds. They can bake cookies, color a picture, or make dirt pies. They can be captain of their own universe. In short, they can PLAY. Play is our children’s work. This is how they learn and grow. Play helps them learn to figure things out, to make decisions, to dream dreams, to create. Play is essential to the emotional, mental and physical growth and well-being of children. Play needs time and space. Time that is unstructured. Space to run in the grass, or twirl in circles. The 11-14 year olds are getting to the age where they are old enough to stay with their younger siblings or to take on babysitting jobs. Sign them up for one of our Safe Sitter courses, where they will learn about safety, how much to charge, how to change a diaper and more. Contact us to find out details for the next class.
What can you do to keep the summer fun, engaging for your children, and less stressful? Check out some of the fun things happening at The River Center.