‘Mommy, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!’ your child whines. The next time your child complains that his day is dull, give these boredom-busters a shot.
Make a “boring day” list of activities
List down as many out-of-the-ordinary activities as you can with your child. Make sure they’re neither too difficult nor too simple. For instance, encourage them to set up a campsite outside, weather permitting. If not, an indoor obstacle course should keep them plenty busy. The internet has tons and tons of activity ideas—research together, and post a ready list on the refrigerator. Next time he feels restless, he can check the list without having to bug you.
Allow a little mess
Allow your child to manipulate objects and interact with the environment. If you usually discourage this kind of hands-on interaction, you may actually be reinforcing lethargic behavior. Relax your cleanliness standards a bit, and allow him to get dirty. Let him make homemade clay with flour, water and salt (and try to bite your tongue if the stuff ends up all over your kitchen floor.) Let him try his hand at gardening and growing flowers and herbs. The long process of creating things will make time fly.
Build on an interest
Take something that your child is interested in, and use that as a springboard to do something productive. Engage his hands in folding paper planes, finger-painting, or making bread dough. Be in-tune with your kid’s deepest interests, and stock up on crayons, paints, glue, clay, wooden sticks, scrapbook materials, albums—anything that allows him to experiment to cultivate his creativity.
If you notice that your child has lost interest in one of his toys, place it in storage for a few weeks. Leave it there for a few weeks. Bring it out again when your child complains of boredom. When children are re-united with a toy that they haven’t played with for a long time, it sometimes feels like a brand new toy again.
Have quality time
Is it boredom or loneliness? Sometimes, it isn’t so much boredom as it is a simple desire to spend meaningful, quality time with you. So bring out the coloring books or take out the roller blades, and take a break with your child. Take him along on errands—do the groceries or make bank deposits together. Time in a car is a lot of quality time together.
Let him sit it out
The next time your child complains of boredom, wait a little. Don’t feel compelled to immediately rescue him. Let him experience the discomfort of boredom, because it’s good for his emotional and mental development. A healthy dose of boredom may be just what your child needs to spark his creativity, imagination and desire to explore.