As loving parents we do the best we can for our kids and we want them to be happy. We spend as much time with them as we can and we make sure they have toys and many other things to play with and enjoy. So it comes as no surprise that we also dread the words “I’m Bored”. Childhood boredom is a fact of life and it can cause parents great stress, particularly when WE have no choice but to leave them alone so we can do life’s dreaded chores: paying bills, cleaning up, dishes and so forth. As a parent and as a professional I have talked to so many people over the years and the feeling is the same. “We have a pool, a trampoline, a play yard, iPad, computer, iPhone. How can he/she be bored?” Is there a solution?
The Answer to Childhood Boredom is To Give Them The Choice
The answer is YES. I won’t take credit for the Fish Bowl of Boredom, which I read somewhere a while back, but the idea is brilliant. You take several pieces of paper and in each one you write a bunch of activities for your child to do. It can include things they already have access to, such as pool, a trampoline, a play yard, iPad, computer, iPhone. It also includes several activities you can do with your child. Things such as going to the movies, park, beach, zoo, you name it. BUT it also includes chores. Things such as picking up leaves and weeds in the back yard, cleaning up various parts of the house, cleaning/putting away dishes, picking up their room, etc. You get the picture. Now you put all those pieces of folded up paper with Ideas to get rid of boredom into a bowl or box of your choosing.
Let Them Decide – Works Like a Charm
Next time your child comes up to you to complain “I’m Bored” explain what is in the bowl/box and ask them to pick something out of the bowl/box. They must do whatever they pick. So do you, if it includes an activity with them. However, since they are risking choosing an unpleasant chore, more often then not they will say: “Never mind. I’ll figure something out.” After all isn’t that what we want for them? For them to use their own little minds to problem solve and find ways of entertaining themselves without always having to rely on us.