“I’m Bored,” Kids Say. Help for Parents on How to Answer

“I’m Bored,” Kids Say. Help for Parents on How to Answer

- in Parenting

It’s a beautiful day outside and my two boys are fighting about turns on the Xbox.

“Go outside,” I say. OK, maybe I yell.

No one budges.

“How about…” and then proceed to give them instructions.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my mom told me to go outside, and we just did it.

My kids, for some reason, didn’t learn that skill of playing with each other or knowing how to entertain themselves.

I blame myself as we are always on the go — whether at a hockey rink or baseball facility. When they come home, they don’t know what to do because they haven’t had time to explore.

When I grew up, we spent more time at home than away.

While recently providing the ultimatum of “Go outside or clean your room” which didn’t work, I decided I would try something different.

Seek Others

The boys have friends in our neighborhood, but as my husband says “I feel like we are on our own island.” He’s right.

With our children, now ages 10 and 7, they should be able to spend time with other kids around the area.

However, we built the boat and then floated away without realizing it. We have friends who have children around the same age as ours, but we haven’t kept up a regular connection or play schedule.

Our kids work better together when others are involved. So we are going to break the bubble a little. We need to invite more neighborhood buddies to our place or even have them attend a regular playdate outside of the home.

Tools for Play

Sports are a big priority in our house. However, some days, the boys get bored. They need a new outlet besides their go-tos. Having a list of “tools” might be a solution. This would be ideas for the “I’m bored” However, when your kids aren’t bored, this would be a good time to discuss the list. If you have time to go out, what would you do if the family needs to have fun and get away? What about if mom and dad needs to get some work done, what could the kids do to entertain themselves, if they felt bored? Getting your kids to weigh in on this list might carry some weight when boredom rears its ugly head.

Stock Up

Parents, you have seen this scenario, your child is having a playdate at a friend’s house, when you pick him up, he is playing with his friend’s truck, which closely resembles another that has been sitting in your basement for ages.

New or like-new toys are something kids get excited about. A great idea is a boredom box or bin. This would be coloring books or activities that would magically appear when boredom sets in at your house, which the kids haven’t seen or it’s been a long stretch of time. They could pick something from the box to do.

Keep adding to the box, but only use it sparingly and let them pick a few things. You could make it a surprise box, where you choose  a fun activity.

It all depends on your child’s personality. Some kids want to have more control and independence about their activities, while others need more directions.

About the author

Angela Gartner is the editor of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine, wife, and mom of two boys. She loves to read, watch her sons play hockey and take care of the family's Scottish Terrier. She shares her experience as a boy mom and how she manages life as a working parent. Also, read her monthly "Editor's Note" column, other timely articles, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine.

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