Mom...I'm bored

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The most dreaded words in the summer vocabulary.

And I wonder, how could a kid be bored in the summer? I can't ever remember saying those words in my whole life-and certainly not in the summer. Maybe because if I said them out loud as a child I would be given chores?

I think some basic play equipment is very helpful to beat boredom. Depending on your living situation, some of these may be practical and some may not:

  • swing set
  • sand box-the bigger the better, you can't have too big of a sandbox
  • various balls
  • bean-bag toss game
  • basket ball net
  • soccer goal
  • tether ball
  • play house or designated play area in the shed or garage, if practical
  • hammer, wood, nails
  • perhaps a small wading pool
  • a pet
  • wagon
  • old stroller
  • bikes
  • chalk
  • paintbrushes and water [to paint on the sidewalk]
  • bubbles
  • sticks
  • own garden area
  • rope [jump rope]
  • pogo stick
  • mini [or full size] trampoline
  • camp in the backyard

For indoor boredom busters--my first and best advice-limit TV/Computer time. Maybe they have to read an hour a day and then they can play video games or watch the TV for a a half an hour . Be careful with this, though.

If you have multiple children they may play the computer for 30 minutes, then watch their brother play for 30 minutes, then watch their other brother play for 30 minutes and now they have used up 1 1/2 hours with the computer. [Ask me how I know about this loop hole in the computer time rule!]

My best friend in the summer was a timer. We used it to limit the time to something reasonable. For TV, we had a rule-- no TV during the day. Then at night we would watch some show or DVD for about an hour as a family. I have a friend who lets her children watch 60 minutes of cartoons in the morning, then the TV is off all day unless they watch something together as a family.

My best advice is to try something that seems reasonable for your family and stick with it for a month or so and see how it goes. You can always modify it if you need to. But, in my experience,  the more computer/TV time children have, the more easily they are bored when the TV/Computer is not in use.

Now, for indoor boredom busters:

  • board games
  • card games
  • making forts under tables or on couches
  • puppet shows done behind the couch, any type of puppets, socks work great
  • making movies if your kids are old enough to use a video recorder. We have some awesome ones that the kids made  years ago that make us laugh every time we watch them
  • blocks
  • action figures/dolls
  • child kitchen
  • child workbench
  • match-box cars
  • Legos
  • play mobile
  • reading [you might want to require so many pages/minutes a day]
  • cooking/baking
  • science experiments
  • dusting
  • vacuuming
  • doing laundry
  • straighten room
  • sweep floor
  • empty dishwasher or wash dishes
  • camp in the family room-my dad actually pitched a real tent in the living room once--he nailed the stakes right through the carpeting into the sub-floor!
  • water plants
  • draw, paint, color, stickers
  • play an instrument
  • sing
  • dance to music
  • have a tea party
  • dress up--keep a box with dress up clothes
  • etc.

Perhaps make a set of index cards with one thing do on each one and train your children to pull a card if they can't think of anything to do. {This could be a great creative writing project as well. During the school year have your children fill out a card anytime they think of something they would like to do but don't have time to do. They could get as descriptive as they want to on the card and then they put the card in with the others and wait till they have some "I'm bored" time.}

I suggest banning the words "I'm bored" or "There's nothing to do" and instead teach your children to say, "I am looking for a job to do." My guess is this will eliminate the need whine around and will encourage them to entertain themselves.

Part two next to have a loose summer schedule that you can live with.

Take care,




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