I suppose my parents were ultra strict, but we children were not permitted to say, “I’m Bored” without being given a job to do. My mother always told us, “Only boring people are bored.” I find myself adopting this same attitude in my own home. My parents’ tactics must have worked, because I have not had one boring day in my entire adult life.
Family members in my home know better than to state in a whiney voice, “Mom, I’m bored.” They will immediately be given something to do, usually involving some kind of work. Here are five ways to keep the children’s excitement about life high:
- Let them make dinner, or at least some part of it. Kids love to make things to eat. Mine prepare vegetables, salads, snacks, even desserts. At first there is usually a MESS involved, but if you come along beside them in the beginning, they learn to see the messes and clean them up as they go.
2. Have your child write an encouraging note to someone in need of cheer. We do this routinely as a part of our Home Education. Penmanship, English Composition, and Civics are credited all in the same activity. We keep a basket of stationary, colored pencils, and stickers in the cupboard near the table for when the letter writing juices flow. Every elderly person and shut in from our congregation at church has received at least one letter from our son. Missionaries, college students, and Grandparents are also regularly encouraged in written form.
3. Bake something. It can be something as simple as Hot Cocoa with Sprinkles, or something elaborate for dinner. We call this “Life Skills,” and we usually make a pretty big deal about it, wearing aprons, scarves, and sometimes even video-recording the process in the form of a child’s “Cooking Show.” Anytime a child from our congregation comes for a visit (especially the girls), I always make sure there is something available to bake, just in case the mood strikes. It almost always does!
The Cooking Show has become a favorite… our boy has 5 shows recorded. He is hilarious as he cooks, faking an accent from New Zealand. Guest bakers become “guest cooks” on the show, and we really ham it up. I plan to have the video clips made into a DVD when we have enough hours of shows, and giving the DVD to my son on his 18th Birthday.
4. Have your child create something. In the fall, we do leaf transfers, at Thanksgiving, we make Tee Pees and Indian costumes. Keep some craft items in a box and grab them and get busy creating. You can find a plethora of ideas on Pinterest, or just use your imagination! We build forts, make sculptures, paint portraits, and so much more. The possibilities are endless. I keep a list of projects for which I have materials taped to the inside of my cupboard door in the Kitchen. When those complaints of “Nothing to do” appear, I get out the box of materials and we go at it.
5. Do a Puzzle together. I buy a new puzzle every few weeks at the local thrift shop. We sit on the floor and assemble it until it looks fabulous. When we tire of the puzzle, we donate it back to the thrift shop and buy another one. They only cost $1.00 to $3.00, so we can be extravagant in this hobby! Some children enjoy this more than others. One of my nephews asks to do a puzzle every single time he enters our home. B. only likes putting them together every few weeks or so. But I always have a fresh one on hand (one that is new to them). Keeps the interest up!
There are dozens of other activities to do when the doldrums strike. Think of your own fun events, make a list and tape it to the inside of a Kitchen cabinet, and you will be ever popular when the need for excitement arises!