Daddy, I’m bored!!

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Daddy, I’m bored!! Ever hear that statement from your child? Sometimes it seems as if they could stand in the middle of a room full of toys, and they are still bored. This is your time to create those memorable moments that will last a lifetime. This doesn’t always mean you have to drop what you’re doing to devote your full attention to your child. Children need to experience these moments of boredom to turn them into creative problem-solving skills, which will help them learn how to resolve issues later in life. Although, sometimes it is best for the child to give a hint at something to do – other than sitting at the TV or playing video games if that is the direction they start to go. However, there are also times where the best thing you can do is to center your full attention to your child and participate in an activity that creates that memorable moment.

When you determine the plan of attack is for you to attend to the child, the next stage is to determine what you can do together! I have to admit that playing a video game together was one way I handled my own son’s boredom. However, looking back at my son’s youth, the best times were those spur-of-the-moment activities. So what do you do now? Here are a few possible suggestions:

Arts & Crafts: Break out the coffee filters and some food coloring. Lay out a coffee filter on a piece of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a thick newspaper. Gently let the food coloring drop in small sections onto the filter and watch how the color seeps in. Another variation would be to use regular paper, and straws if you have some available. Once the food coloring drops on the paper, blow it around with the straw. Amazing works of art can be created with both these methods. If you prefer a more advanced method of artwork, finger paints can provide hours of messy, squishy fun! (You can make finger paint by mixing 2 cups of flour into 2 cups of cold water – divide this mixture up into smaller bowls and add the food coloring). You could even turn this “I’m bored!” activity into a thoughtful gift for mom or grandma. Have the child create their handprint as a signature for the wonderful work of art they’ve created. If you’re really brave, and the child can write – copy the Handprints poem with a black crayon or marker over the artwork.

Develop a plan: Are you going on vacation soon? Is there a holiday coming up soon? Have the child assist you on planning some events for the trip or holiday. For example, I heard the dreaded “I’m bored” words during Christmas vacation one year. We developed a plan to create gingerbread houses as gifts. Use this opportunity to do something you’ve never done before, too! I had never made a gingerbread house, so we had to start from scratch and even locate the recipe for gingerbread. This also helps your child develop the planning strategy skills as well as passes the time.

Create a new environment: Backyard tents made out of sheets and ropes can develop some quality time together as you explore nature in your own back yard. I still remember my own mother pointing out the different constellations, and cherish that instant-made memory. Go for a walk in the local park or even in the country. Not only is this great for physical exercise, you can also create new interests with this strategy. Maybe you can pass on your knowledge of the different trees to your child, or you can find some beautiful rocks to start a collection. I always enjoyed looking for Queen Anne’s Lace so I could take some blooms home to put in colored water and watch them change from white to yellow, red, or blue!

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the infamous words, “Daddy, I’m bored!” are normal. It is not a sign that you are a bad parent or your child has a problem. You shouldn’t ignore the phrase, but you do not have to become a 5-ring circus master each time you hear these words, either. Should you decide to take an active participating role during the boredom times, attempt to create the memories that last a lifetime for both you and your child.

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