My 9-year-old often comes up to me whining that he's “bored.” Even if we've had a busy morning packed with activities, sometimes we're barely home half an hour before I hear those dreaded words! Does he need more activities? Or should he be able to figure out how to entertain himself?
You know your child best. Some children thrive with a packed activity schedule, others can easily amuse themselves with a book or a game for an hour at a time. As a kid, I always remember my little sister waking my parents at 6:00am every Saturday saying “What are we doing today?” which, loosely translated, meant “I need a project, and I need one NOW!” Still, even the most packed schedule requires some downtime and kids need to learn how to find their own amusement.
Pencil in family time: Before sending the kiddies off to fend for themselves, make sure you've factored in some family fun. Game nights, movie nights, and family bike rides are a few ways for the kids to know they've got a fun ‘date’ with mom or dad’s undivided attention to look forward to.
Find a pattern: When does he complain of boredom the most? A rainy day? Vacation time? When the siblings are at school? Sometimes a dull afternoon is unavoidable, but if you see a pattern forming, try and modify the schedule to fill the worst boredom hours with some planned activities.
Nanny Carrie's Tip: Fill a jar with activities (board game, drawing, craft, etc.) written on slips of paper for the kids to draw from whenever you hear those two dreaded words. Better still, (or if the complaining gets unbearable!), make it a chore jar. You'll be surprised how quickly your kiddos can scurry off and occupy themselves if the alternative is taking out the garbage!