Well the excitement of Christmas is over and the fun of New Year’s Eve has fizzled away. We’ve now hit those long January weeks and it’s at this time kids start complaining about being bored. Summer holidays are the perfect time for kids to experience boredom, which will force them to be creative. It’s a time they get to follow interests, discover new passions and experiment.
Generally, parents get around their kids being bored by overscheduling them into holiday camps and play dates to keep them busy. As parents we need to try and strike a balance between overscheduling our kids and having them struggle with boredom. In our instant society, children get bored very quickly and are always looking for faster, louder, brighter and more intense input. It’s important in the holidays for children to have the opportunity to slow down, learn to take their own initiative and think of ways to occupy themselves that is not dictated by someone else.
Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through January and help your child become more independent and self-reliant.
- Involve your child in the planning of their holiday schedule. If you are going to book them into holiday activities, find out what excites them and what they love to do. It might be sailing, robotics or plaster painting.
- Give them some input into their schedule, but make sure it has a balance of planned activities and some unplanned time to be at home.
- Hang out together at home. If you are having time off work in January with your child, don’t feel that you have to take them out every day by watching a movie together, playing cricket, reading or building a lego masterpiece.
- Make sure you are fully engaged when playing with them and support their creativity and imagination for coming up with new activities.
- Get some basic equipment for your kids to try at home, these might include some pencils, paper, scissors, stickers, cricket bat, basketball, frisbee or materials to make a kite.
- Explore outside – see what different types of cicadas they can find, try climbing some new trees, they can build a cubby house/fort somewhere outside.
- Catch up on classic movies with you that you liked as a kid, like Back to the Future, Thunderbirds, Grease.
- Go to the library, perfect on a hot day and borrow some books that are maybe different to the ones your child usually borrows. See if there is something they’d like to know more about.
- Build with Lego but don’t follow the instructions, encourage your child to be more creative in what they build. Maybe you can work together to build a space station.
- Try some cooking, even if it’s making a smoothie, a toasty or part of a meal. This is a life skill and will make your child feel independent.
- Do some simple science experiments, like making a lava lamp, making frozen slime, writing invisible messages
- Play some board games which develop some many cognitive, language and team building skills
- Go for a bike ride. Gather the family and go for a bike ride. Go a different way and discover some new areas.
- Play hide-and-seek. See who can find the most creative places to hide indoors or Discover crevices around the house that you never knew existed.
- Write a story together
- Set up a scavenger hunt. – write down a list of things that your child has to find around the house or in the yard.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle together.
Use this list as an easy reference in January when your child comes up to you and says
“ I’m bored! “