Sunday, September 9, 2012

Parenting Tip - When your Child is Bored

My son told me about my granddaughter's first week of kindergarten.  When asked how she liked it, she told her Dad it was boring.  But later in the evening, she and her brother were talking about school and talking about the rodeo clown who had come to the school assembly.  Then my grandson mentioned that Maya, his kindergarten sister, had been chosen to go up on the stage to help the clown.  My son asked Maya, "I thought you said school was boring?"  She replied, "Well, not that part."

Kids! They're funny sometimes.

Now I want you to understand that my grandchildren are PERFECT, but in other children, I see a rising trend where children seem to think they have to be entertained constantly.  If they're not watching TV, then they're playing a video or computer game or going to soccer practice or dance or gymnastics.

My sister, who taught school for 40 years, always told her students if they complained of being bored, "only uncreative, uninteresting people are bored."

So what do we, as parents do, if our children complain of being bored at school or at home?  Teach them it's their responsibility to do something about their boredom.  Teach them that they should not rely on someone else to entertain them, but that they now have an opportunity to find something to learn or to invent or to do.

It's been said that necessity is the mother of invention.  One summer our family went on a day trip to visit my husband's aunt and uncle at their cabin. In the afternoon all the adults took a nap except for me.  I was completely bored and didn't know how to fill the next few hours.  Suddenly I decided to get the camera and take pictures of my children and their cousin illustrating the ABC's in nature.  For the next 2 hours we were engrossed in finding things that started with the letters of the alphabet and then posing for a picture (like laying in the hammock for the letter H, etc).  It was so fun.

Later, I took all the alphabet photos and made an illustrated alphabet book.  Throughout the years, my children and I have enjoyed looking at the book.  And each time, I am reminded that it was a blessing I was bored, or the book would never have been made.

Don't feel guilty if your child is bored.  Give him strategies to help him cope if he is bored at school such as writing a poem about what he learning, creating math picture problems, writing a story, or simply drawing and coloring a picture.  Don't think you have to provide constant entertainment or activity at home.  Jot some ideas down on pieces of paper, put them in a jar and let your child choose one of the slips of paper.  Be prepared and collect art supplies or other creative open ended activities to have your child engage in.

Or you can always do what I would do.  Give your child a chore to do if he complained of being bored.  That would certainly get the wheels turning in the brain.

Or you could say to your child what my husband would sometimes say, "go sit on your thumb and let your feet hang over." 

Thanks for reading,



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