JMJ 29 *We are consumed by our simple life. Seemingly silly, mundane and trivial stuff rule the day oftentimes. Boredom-busters are sometimes needed! But we are a happy and carefree bunch, and I have never seriously regretted my decision to homeschool.
Ring the School Bell, 29/180 days
Chore day was crazy today. We have been getting behind on the housecleaning agenda, so I increased the pressure to get more done. I actually gave disheartened Melissa a list of 16 chores, I am a little ashamed to say. Of course, to my defense, many of these were 5 minute chores such as taking out the trash and cleaning the bathroom mirror. By the end of the day, our home sparkled and smelled fresh as pine trees in the forest.
Leaves have completely taken over the patio and so we raked and packed the autumn leaves into the city’s green bin. I just bought a gas blower for such things but it is so heavy and loud that I think I will be taking it back to the store, and pick up a gardener while I’m at it. I wish. But I do truly love the sound of raking and it is an excuse to be outside enjoying the fall, so really what’s the point of using an obnoxiously loud gas blower and saving a few minutes?
After a few moments of boredom following the completion of her chore list, (something you don’t want to lament to your mom, as she will gladly find something more that needs to be done) Melissa found a bag of marbles in her desk and spent the afternoon playing with them. I showed her a few tricks from my youth, and Sarah joined us in the new-found sport.
I know I cringe at those words, “Mom, I’m bored, I don’t know what to do.” It doesn’t matter what age your child is, you might be familiar with those words, although with all the tech devices around, it is not as often heard these days. Technology often sadly fills the gap, when this might be an opportunity for creativity to spark or maybe an unexpected bonding moment between parent and child. Although, inside, I know it is not a personal insult that my child might momentarily be bored, sometimes I take it that way since I am sometimes just a little too proud of my lesson planning ability. With such a busy life these days, when a quiet moment comes on, it can catch a busy kid off-guard, and they might need a little redirection. These are not new ideas. It has all been said before as in the case of just about everything. They are simply ideas to jog your memory of what to do.
10 suggestions which have worked for me:
- This one may be all that is needed: Suggest a household chore that you could use help with, with as serious a face as you can muster. This will instantly cure most cries of boredom, as the child will instantly think of something else they need to do. Younger children may actually like to get involved in doing a chore, so let them help fold the towels perhaps, something I always have stacks of! Who knows, maybe imaginative play will take over, with the different towels taking on different personas.
- Take 5 with your child. That is, sit down and start a fun activity with him. Start coloring, or start a Lego creation. Older kids also love versions of this. We have a number of those fancy adult coloring books laying around that they migrate to in times of the doldrums. Oftentimes kids will get so engrossed in the activity, that you can go on with your other business. A little investment of your time here and there, makes for happier and less whiny offspring.
- Take a walk outdoors together. I love this one. What a great bonding time and good for your health also! Everyone can participate, whether in a stroller, on foot, on a bike, on skates, or on a scooter. This is a great activity for conversation, enjoying the great outdoors, and also for fitness. Melissa went through a period where she would pack a snack for the both of us, and we would head on down the street on our scooters, stopping for a snack on the way back. The sweetness of it all was worth my sore knees!
- Have your child call Grandma, Grandpa, or other special relative. My own mother always loves to get a personal phone call from one of her grandchildren, and my dad the same before he passed on. Kids are so busy these days, that it is a real treat for grandparents and kids alike.
- Suggest reading or looking at a book. Our librarians know us by sight, from our frequent visits to the library. When the kids were younger, we would haul back piles of wholesome picture books and kids’ science books, which would occupy them for hours. Now they read stacks of fun fiction chapter books.
- Get a large sheet out and let them build an indoor cave or fort. This can get quite extensive, and they may not want to take it down for a week, so you might consider the den or an available corner. I would let my kids set up in the dining room underneath the massive table, unless it was a week for guests. Okay, older kids may not want to build a fort anymore, but maybe they can get in on the action with a younger sibling.
- Give your child a hug and “hang out” on the couch together for a few minutes, brainstorming what she might do next. Add a pooch or a kitty-cat to get real cozy. Who doesn’t need a mini-break?
- Basic cameras are so inexpensive nowadays. Send your child outside to do a little nature photography and print a couple to post on the wall. This could easily become a hobby.
- Suggest that your child bake something. This is a popular one around our house. The kids have been baking since they were about 8 years old. Be close enough for supervision, but eventually the goal is for them to build their own cooking repertoire. If your child is too young for this, let them help you bake a batch of cookies and then share them together. Yum!
- Set up an art station where you can leave it a week or so. Rotate supplies to keep it interesting. Get out the crayons. Have you ever tried Colorix water-based silky crayons? They are beyond awesome, and are available at rainbowresource.com, a delightful website for kids. Another awesome art product is Do-a-Dot markers also available on this website. I am mentioning these because of the hours of enjoyment they brought to my own kids. Lastly, for free art fun, look under my tab, Art Therapy, which includes printable art for kids of all ages, including moms!
So there you have it. Hopefully one of these ideas sparks an interest. I’d love to hear your feedback, comments, and ideas. Blessings to you, Annette
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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.
May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine. Annette