Whether it is over the summer holidays or simply on a rainy and cold weekend, all parents know that kids tend to get bored relatively easily. The constant reminder of ‘I’m bored’ is certain to put your sanity to the test, especially if the same phrase has been on repeat for hours on end despite your best efforts to keep them entertained. Fear not! Here are some great tips to help the kids beat the boredom whenever it rears its ugly and unwelcome head.
Create a ‘rainy day box’
Trying to convince children to spend the entire day playing with the toys that they play with on a regular basis is a recipe for boredom. As such, it is always a lifesaver to create and pack a rainy day box filled with special toys and supplies that they are only allowed access to on special occasions or when it is too wet or cold to head outside. Be sure to update the box every year or so to keep things interesting and to ensure that it remains age appropriate as your children grow.
Plan a movie night
Movie nights promise a wonderful opportunity for bonding and are a fun experience for kids of all ages. Get them involved in the planning phase and really go out of your way to make it special. If you have more than one kid, alternate who gets to pick the movie, the food, and the drinks. Consider setting a theme and getting dressed up and be sure to make the living room as comfortable and welcoming as possible. How about a mammoth SumoLounge beanbag chair to snuggle up on? Or perhaps building a fort in front of the television? The options are endless!
Make a boredom jar
This is an excellent arts and craft activity to enjoy together. Select a medium-sized jar and decorate it. You will then fill up the boredom jar with as many ideas as possible, such as ‘walk the dog,’ ‘read a book,’ ‘write a letter to a friend,’ etc. When your kids announce their boredom in the future, they can each pick an idea at random out of the jar. The only rule is that they have to do what is on their chosen piece of paper – no cheating! As ideas are picked, you can reintroduce them into the jar or you can replace them with new ones. Ensure that the kids are involved when it comes to brainstorming for new ones!
Obviously, as long as it isn’t raining, taking the kids to play outdoors is certain to banish the boredom quickly enough. Consider heading out for a long, leisurely walk to collect ‘treasures.’ Bring along a bag or a basket and encourage the children to pick up any interesting items that they come across along the way. Colorful feathers, pine cones, beautiful leaves, interestingly shaped rocks and stones, flowers – anything, really. They will love keeping an eye out for these little treasures and will feel endlessly proud of themselves when they manage to spot something worthwhile. Plus, they will be getting a bit of exercise and fresh air too, which will be sure to help them sleep better that night.
As we all know, reading is great for children of all ages. However, if you have plowed through all of the books in your home multiple times already and you are at a loss when the boredom hits full-force, why not ask your child to tell you a story for a change? They will need to use their imagination to do this, and it is a fantastic opportunity to help them build their vocabularies.
Another option for children who do not know how to read yet, is to choose a picture book and ask them to ‘read’ you a story by simply looking at the pictures. This is another excellent exercise in creativity, as well as in memory, as your child tries to recall what the story is about.
Make a fort
There are few things as entertaining as a spacious fort in the living room. Simply throw a sizeable sheet over the furniture and create a little ‘home’ inside. The kids will love playing make-believe or just playing with their toys in new surroundings. It is bound to keep them busy for hours on end. Plus, as mentioned above, it is also the ideal space in which to enjoy a movie or storytime together later on.
Yes, really! While older kids probably won’t be keen, you would be amazed at just how much of a kick your child will get out of using the vacuum cleaner or sweeping the floors with a broom. They absolutely love to imitate adults and will feel exceptionally pleased with themselves for ‘helping’ mom and dad. Using these cleaning tools is also a great opportunity for them to work on their coordination. Plus, you can be relatively sure that your home will be cleaner than it was when your child started, which is obviously a massive relief. Just ensure that you keep a close eye on the cleaning activities in case they get a bit over-eager and start swinging the broom around or vacuum up your jewelry when you leave the room!
Teach them that boredom is a part of life
Ultimately, a certain amount of boredom can be beneficial for kids. After all, not everything that they will have to do in life will always be enjoyable or entertaining. They will eventually need to learn how to tolerate boredom and realize that although it definitely isn’t pleasant, it won’t kill them. Furthermore, boredom teaches them a number of important life skills. It encourages them to be more creative, to develop their problem-solving abilities, and to be comfortable just being ‘in the moment’.
Boredom be gone! Hopefully, the aforementioned suggestions will help to keep the kids content for longer periods of time so that you can keep your sanity intact. If not, there’s always the radio. Nobody ever said ‘no’ to dancing the boredom away!