Babble – Ellen Seidman

If there’s one phrase that parents dread hearing from kids, it is “I’m bored.” (Coming in a close second: “I think I’m gonna throw up.”) Sometimes, boredom can actually benefit kids — I’ve found that unstructured time gives my children a chance to come up with creative ways to entertain themselves. Then again, there are days when they genuinely have no clue what to do and you are on the verge of ripping your hair out. Bored kids are one of the greatest job hazards of parenthood. These are some of the simple but winning tactics that I (desperately) rely on.

Boredom buster #1: The paper-bag pick

Ask your child for ideas of all kinds of stuff he can do around the house — play a board game, color, read a book, clean their room, do jumping jacks. Jot the activities down on paper, cut them up, fold, toss into a paper bag and have him pick one. With any luck, he’ll choose “Clean my room.” Your child can return to choose more activities anytime. Feel free to sneak in papers that read “Fold laundry” and “Give Mommy a neck rub.”

Boredom buster #2:  Make birthday cards

Pin down which friends and family have birthdays coming up in the next few months, then have your child create some custom cards. This one is particularly genius because it spares you the last-minute birthday card dash to the store.

Boredom buster #3. Do a name hunt

This one’s good for older kids. Suggest that your child research their name online and report back to you on what they find — the meaning of their name and its country of origin, whether a lot of kids have that name, or if they share it with anyone famous, present or past. Some good sources: Nameberry, Babble Name Origins and Behind The Name. And if they do this all too quickly, tell them to research names for their future kids.

Boredom buster #4: Stun ’em into silence

Inform your children that when you were little and you told your parents that you were bored, they made you sit in the car and stare at the windshield wipers going back and forth. OK, technically, that may not be true, but your kids will definitely sit and ponder that one for a while.

Read More