It’s been one week. One week since I tapped in and my kid’s teachers tapped out for the summer. One week of later nights, longer mornings, and playdates. So far we’ve only had a few mentions of the dreaded “I’m bored” phrase, and the kid that it came from could very well be in the middle of Disneyland and still claim they are bored.
Boredom is a mindset.
I look back on my childhood and how I endured the long weeks between summer vacation and the start of school claiming to be bored. I couldn’t figure out what to do, but when I was desperate there was always another endless round of Monopoly with my brothers.
It took me a while to figure out how to combat boredom. Way too long.
My husband is one of those people who has never been bored a day in his life. When we first got married, it shocked me. I didn’t know life like that was possible. There were days I would wait around for him to finish a project he was working on so we could hang out together, but he never finished. He always had something to do, something to fix, something to organize, something to study. (Eventually I caught on and learned to communicate that I wanted to do something together. Communication is a wonderful thing, my friend.)
Here are a few things I’ve learned about combatting boredom that have helped me and my kids.
- Goals- Short-term goals help direct our days. Endless hours of nothing is pretty boring for anyone. During summertime, I make different goals for my kids than I do during the school year and I’ve communicated those to them (the older ones especially). One of my kids I’m working on their decision-making skills and sticking to their word, another I’m working on being more confident and less afraid to make mistakes. Identifying these help me interact with them differently (even more patiently) knowing it’s a skill they are growing in.
- Rhythms- Daily and weekly rhythms are powerful. It’s only been one week of summer and my kids wake up and know what to do from 7am-noon. It’s amazing how they’ve started owning their day and are becoming proactive with how they spend their time. I don’t allow any “tech time” (video games, computer, iPad, television) before lunch and they don’t ask anymore. Our mornings directly effect our afternoon, so if we can get our morning rhythm down, it’s almost guaranteed to have a good day over all. The same is true with weekly rhythms- especially a Sabbath. We can’t be all work all the time, we’ll burn out. It’s important to do both well.
- Fun- There’s a time to focus and be productive and there’s a time to relax and let loose. We need both. It’s hard to have fun if everyone is complaining and fighting. It’s much easier to go grab ice cream after we spent our morning using our minds- whether it’s reading, being creative, or a multiplication problem or two. I’ve also noticed that if I let my kids play however they want with whatever they want as soon as they wake up, they will inevitably start bickering or whining pretty quickly. The days I enforce a little work and routine are some of the most rewarding days we have together. I think we were created to be productive and to work. Fun is actually fun when we work for it. But don’t forget it. Be intentional to add the extra treat or trip to the movie. This past Friday, we all went to see Wonder Woman together mid-day. It was the perfect activity for the end of the week- especially when you’re fighting ninety and hundred degree days.
Don’t succumb to hot, boring days, instead fight for fun with your family, for your family. Hope you’re having a fun summer so far, and if not, it’s not too late to call a “time-out” or “do over”.