Beating boredom

By: Nicole Holt Email
By: Nicole Holt Email

Does it ever seem to you that almost the minute your kids or grandkids are finished with one activity, they're struggling to figure out what to do next. "I'm bored" is an all to familiar refrain with many children. And with summer break, child psychologist at the University of Health Services Center say you need to plan now to beat boredom.

From swimming to riding bikes, activities for kids are abound. Yet, many parents know that as soon as their children have wrapped up one activity, they're complaining bout "being bored" all over again. It can become a chronic complaint in the summer months for some kids, but parents can take steps to keep boredom at bay.

Robin Gurwitch, Ph. D. says, "Think about how I'm going to handle boredom. Are there kids in the neighborhood that they may be able to call and ride a bike with? Plan ahead; talk to them. What kind of things do you want to do this summer? What are some of the fun activities?"

Dr. Gurwitch and her colleagues at the OU Physicians Child Study Center says scheduling activities is great, but children also need time that is not scheduled so they can learn to occupy their own time.

"Because, we don't want our children not to have that ability. As they get older, they will have more and more responsibility and more and more time they will have to fill. And we don't want them to never have had opportunities to figure out how to handle that."

Unstructured time allows children the opportunity to test their imagination, to use their creativity and to build self-reliance. Perhaps they'll read a book for maybe they'll color for a while. The key is letting them decide for themselves what to do to fill that time. If they can't decide, give them some choices.

" I saw a very inventive mom, I thought was a great idea, created a boredom jar. And the child wrote down some things that they would like to do if they got bored, and it was everything from art projects, to booking a meal, sort of practicing cooking and serving a meal."

Mom and Dad also put ideas in the boredom jar, things like learning a new chore, for instance how to dust or fold laundry. When the child gut's bored, a slip is pulled and whatever it is what they do. With a little planning and practice, children can learn fun is where they find it.

Child psychologists stress that unscheduled time is critical even if it has to be scheduled. For instance, set aside some time for your kids to watch a video, but let them decide on the video. Or plan time each day for outdoor play, but let your children decide whether they want to ride bikes or go swimming.


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