For starters, boredom is not a bad thing. I wrote about this here a few weeks ago. I included ideas here from readers as well as my own. There’s no reason to feel guilty when your child is bored. It’s his problem, not yours. Remember that. You can, however, steer that boredom train in a good direction. In addition to ideas I posted in the earlier blog, here are some more ideas for what to do when your kid is bored.
- Sit quietly. Have your bored child sit quietly in a chair for five minutes (this is not Time Out). Have him think about what he wants to do once allowed out of the chair. If he’s older than five years, you can have him sit one minute for each year of age he is. A 10-year-old can sit quietly for ten minutes. That’s plenty of time to get the cog-wheels rolling.
- Forbidden fruit. Tell him you don’t care what he plays with as long as he does not play with [the blocks, the Legos, etc.]. Guaranteed, that is all he will be able to think about playing! I did that with my guys one day. They couldn’t get along and couldn’t find anything to do. I told them I was going to clean out the toy closet and they could play with anything in it except the tub of blocks. Guess what they begged and begged to play with then?! In a flash, they thought of all the things they could do with the blocks if only they could play with them. When I “finally” said yes, they occupied themselves for hours.
- Boredom box. Keep a stash of things for a child to do. Confiscate stickers and other kid-friendly flyers that come in the mail. Pick up items at a yard sale or when you find something on sale for a great price. Keep it hidden away until a rainy, boring day. Then bring out the boredom box. Let your child pick one item to play with. He can choose something else later, but one item will make him zero in; too many choices make a kid restless.
- Dress up trunk. Keep a supply of “dress up” stuff on hand. Keep the trunk/box out-of-site-out-of-mind until you need it (when your kid is bored). Deliberate long and hard in front of your kids on whether you should let them play with it. Guaranteed, they will beg for the opportunity.
- Do something with your child. Make play dough, have a color-time, or story time under a tent made of blankets. My teenager even played with play dough the day I mixed up a batch for our foster kids. Soon all of the kids were occupied at the kitchen counter. Several hours later, they were still designing and shaping objects from the playdough. Read to your child in a “cave” or under a “tent”. It will provide plenty of ideas for activity after story time.
- Plan a program. Read a story or tell a story, then tell the kids you’ll be glad to pay admission to come to a program where they act out this story (or another story of their choice). “But it must be a surprise!” you tell them. “I can’t know what you are doing until the program!” Then smile from the next room as they cajole each other on who plays which part and practice. Dave and I paid many a nickel to watch programs performed by our kids in the living room of our home.
- Guess who’s coming to dinner! Each family member comes to dinner in a costume or with a symbol representing a Bible character. This takes thinking and planning. It will occupy their time in preparation. Read about this here.
The end result
When all else fails, delegate a chore to each of your kids. Keep adding tasks until they find something else they’d rather do. 🙂 Guaranteed, this works.
It’s not your job to keep your kid from boredom, but you can direct his attention to ideas he’s never considered. This puts him on a new trail of learning and entertainment. Help yourself to these ideas or – better yet – come up with your own when your kid is bored.