I love being a mother but one of my pet peeves is hearing…”Mom, I’m BORED!” Really… I grew up making things, building things, and creating the most elaborate imaginary worlds any brain could conjure up. Me and my friends made it happen.
I have noticed a big difference though. I loved my toys, read books to create new projects, and enjoyed the company of dolls when my friends were unavailable. In today’s world, the computer has taken over, the love for a toy has dwindled in intensity, and creativity has taken a back seat. For us, the latest toy was the rage, which made us move and play around. For them it’s about an app or a computer game, leaving them still on a chair or couch.
Are they really bored?
It’s all in how you look at it. As parents, we need to teach them new ways of doing things, encourage them to do something different, and take the power away from the device of choice. Research has proven, time and time again, that boredom leads to creativity.
I do have a disclaimer though, if they are bored and you take away the device, they will create a bit of chaos. The question is…how much patience do you have? I know it can be harsh, I have two kids. I have gotten this down to a full 40 minutes. Yup, 40 minutes of loud, grumpy, and not happy comments, and then…like magic, they go off and create, build, or read (in a real book!). I do have my moments when my fuse is short, and I daydream of silence by iPad, but these are soon to be “adults” and I want them to have the skills to flourish in any situation.
With that said, here are my Top 5 Things I use to encourage creativity and reduce boredom:
Let’s figure out a new meal, order the ingredients, prep, make a menu, and anything else to make it fun and fanciful. Once kids can walk, they can cook. Now granted, with the smaller ones the mess is larger. However, the reward of having a child that enjoys the kitchen through adulthood is worth every splash and spill.
2. Pinterest CRAFT Page
Computers are part of our world. We can’t keep our children away from them all the time, but we can encourage them to use them in a constructive and creative manner at times. The day I introduced Pinterest to my daughter, she spent an amazing amount of time finding cool crafts and then the same amount of time making it all.
3. Encourage your kids to BUILD
Home Depot has a building project for kids once a month. Both of my kids have gone since they were very little. To this day my 14-year-old loves taking his nephews and encouraging them to build. This is where my kids learned how to use a hammer, screwdriver, and paint things to match their rooms. I was encouraged, at a very young age, to re-make things in my room and change them up. Adding a shelf here or a trim, helped to create my own space. The ability to build and create has served me to this day.
4. READING as the doorway to a new world
Computer games take a child into another world where they have full control of everything around them. Then, once they come back to reality, with no control over their immediate world, they get bored. Inspiring our children to delve into some of the great stories of our times, can take them into a whole new world. A great book can transport into a medieval forest or experience life as a king or queen, and see how the world functions from an author’s point of view. With books, there’s so much diversity, you can read about a hobby, plan an adventure, or elicit their ability to plan the next family trip.
5. CREATING a new world for fun
The ability to take a box and make it your castle, create a fort in the sofa, or arrange a grouping of sheets can make for quite an afternoon of fun and giggles.
What’s important to remember is that in many households this is not the norm. Sometimes we have to get down to the level of our kids. Show them a trick or two to help get the creative juices flowing and the fun ignited.
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