As you return home, reflecting on all the fun you had and begin putting away your things, it happens. You see your child moving their mouth and staring at you with their hands dangling by their side.
“They can not possibly be saying this,” you think as you gaze at them in a dream like trance.
“I’m bored,” your child states matter of factly.
Seriously? Seriously. The dreaded B-O-R-E-D word. Parents cannot stand it. Children love to use it.
It seems to be the word of this generation. I hear it used out of context to describe situations that have nothing to do with being bored. “I stole a phone because I was bored,” a child once said. I wondered how that even made sense. Read, play, eat, sleep, that makes sense.
Parents can get triggered so easily by those 5 letters. They have a room full of stuff with nothing to do. Seriously? Seriously.
So what do you do when your little gem says they are bored. Let me offer you a few ideas:
1. Give them 3 options to choose from. Sometimes kids just need help getting started.
2. Give them a challenge. I have a box of cardboard odds and ends and will challenge kids to design something. Have them set up an obstacle course and time themselves regarding how fast they can do it in 5 trials.
3. Dance. If they like to do this, perfect. Or threaten them they will have to dance with you if they don’t find something to do.
4. Take them in their room and show them all the wonderful things they have to enjoy. If they still say they have nothing, begin to pick something up and let them know it will be going to Goodwill since it is something they no longer use. Watch how fast they learn to love some of their own things again.
5. Take time to connect. Bake some cookies, paint, read a story together, look through some baby pictures, take a walk, go on the swings.
6. Ignore. Older kids will often say they are bored to get a rise out of you. It is ok for kids to be bored and figure out what to do. Just keep an eye on them to make sure what they choose is legal!
I remain grounded when triggered by others.