Friday, June 1, 2012

Banishing the Summer Boredom Blues

     “Mooooommm, I’m bored.”

     “There’s nothing to do.”

     I am sure you get the idea. We all at one time or another have been serenaded by the ear-piercing sopranos of complaint or the nothing’-to-do summer blues. Maybe, your family has just finished their school year. The novelty of a break will wear off before you know it and Mom may end up finding herself at a loss for ideas after the regular suggestions. And yet, summer is almost here!

      Of course, there is the option of schooling year-round. We are that family, but I still find there are days I am scratching my head without having that a-ha moment. There are times when the creativity flows. However, more often than not, I have to search for ideas. So, here are a few suggestions I have found helpful to cure the children’s boredom.

     First and foremost, when I feel closer to our Creator, ideas seem to come out of nowhere. It is all about being in tune with God and understanding how He does work through you. I begin to see things from a different perspective and think outside the box. Coinciding with that idea is to realize if you are in a creative rut, do not dwell on it. Be prepared for those ruts with the following possibilities.

      Keep an idea journal. Whether it is a hard-bound notebook or a folder in your computer, jot down ideas from activities to crafts. That way if creativity is being elusive you have an idea book to assist you in that department. There are plenty of ideas in magazines and the internet. You can tweak them to your child’s age and ability level to make the activity fitting.

      Create a boredom-busting box of potential craft items: oatmeal containers, cereal boxes, construction paper, empty milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, buttons, etc. When your child comes to you wanting to do something, anything at all, hand them the box and let their creativity flow. Plus, at the end of the day you can go to bed knowing you fostered your child’s creativity. Don’t forget the scissors, glue, tape and newspaper to layout to make for easy clean up. This is an instant here-is-something-to-do-for-the-moment in a box.

      In the coolness of the morning send them outside. Get out there with them and go on a nature treasure hunt. Observe God’s goodness up close. David reminds us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands,” in Psalm 19:1. Grab some art supplies before you head out the door and journal bits of Creation. Through out the summer the kids can observe changes in plants and flowers and changes in animal patterns as the weather fluctuates.

      One of my favorite ideas is to have a jar of activities the kids can do alone or together. If I hear, “I’m bored,” I reply, “Grab the jar.” The boredom-buster jar that is. They grab one folded piece of paper out and open to see what activity they can go do. This is a great one to begin as a family. Everyone can contribute a few ideas and write them down- reading, volunteering, help a neighbor, draw, play a board game, walk the dog. Decorate the jar or canister to allow the kids to bring a sense of ownership to the project. Add the ideas and you will have another weapon in your boredom-fighting arsenal.

      Although, these can help combat those moments, there is an issue much deeper that needs to be addressed. In every circumstance one can find a lesson to be learned. When we are not on guard we call allow our feelings to dictate our perspective of the circumstances that are surrounding us. This is a good time to explain why we cannot let our feelings run our lives. God has given us each day as a gift to be opened with anticipation and surprise. We never know what the day will behold. If we allow emotions to get in the way, we have made an obstacle and block what God has planned for us.

     When there is nothing to do, as older, wiser people, we realize there is no truth to that thought. There is always something to do. We must remember to take the time to love our children with grace and patience pointing out to them the error of their fallacious statement and more importantly, guiding them to the Truth.

      Proverbs 15:19-20, “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”

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