I have five kids. And they are all under the age of eight. And my children have learned that mommy only has two hands. I am one person. And I am obviously and painfully outnumbered.
We don’t have a lot of money, so we don’t take vacations. We live in a small house where my children share two bedrooms among themselves. They have a lot of reason to be bored. But they aren’t.
Here’s the thing: It’s not my job to make sure they are constantly entertained. Of course I will play with them, and have fun with them. I might even give them a little nudge of an idea. But they have learned to keep themselves busy.
On hot days they go outside and run through the sprinkler or sit in a yes, wait for it: baby pool. They’ll ride their bikes (and trikes), play with bubbles and chalk. They live on popsicles and explore bugs and flowers, chase butterflies, and play in the dirt.
On rainy days we’ll make popcorn and watch movies. They color, play Barbies for hours, get out the blocks, cars and dinosaurs and have at it. There are Play-Doh castles, playing house, playing dress-up and reading new books. Then there is their favorite: slipping on their rain boots and jumping in puddles.
They let their imaginations fly. And the best part is, they do it on their own. They don’t need my help to play. When a child is left with their imagination, who knows what they are capable of?
As parents, we need to learn to let children explore on their own. They don’t ALWAYS need something to do. Who says they need to constantly be kept busy so they aren’t bored? Why do parents nowadays feel as though it is their obligation to hover over their child and make sure they are constantly entertained?
I would rather my kids tell me they are bored and then have them realize a short while later that building a fort or a simple game of hide-and-seek can be so much fun.
Let’s stop with all the routine. Let’s stop keeping our kids so busy with activities because we are afraid their boredom will be their demise. Let them be bored. Force them to figure out that their imaginations can make anything and everything fun. You just have to be willing to let go.