6 Things Kids Can Do When They Are Bored
“I’m bored!” Richie whined.
Sometimes kids complain that they’re bored and other times you can just tell because they’re instigating trouble, getting into mischief, or just grumbling and complaining in general.
Ephesians 5:15-16 reminds us: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Children need to learn to manage their time well. It’s a life skill that will carry through to adulthood.
When you feel bored, what do you do? If your habit is to run to electronics you might want to consider other alternatives. The same is true for your child. Instead of just handing your child the iPad or turning on the TV, see setting limits on technology, you might want to build some initiative. Don’t simply give your child something to do. Rather, give categories, brainstorm ideas, and then require that your child choose something.
Recently, I was working with my grandson who seemed bored and I told him, “There are six things you can do when you’re bored. Let me tell you them and we’ll see which category interests you today.” We started through the process and I only got to number three before the lights came on and he became engrossed in an activity that took him hours.
Remember, you don’t have to tell your kids what to do, or try to entertain them. This boredom problem isn’t yours. It belongs to your child. So teach your kids how to explore some options and choose something to do. By doing this you’ll equip them for the next times of boredom that they experience. Here are the six ideas. Take them one by one and brainstorm together what might be in this category.
1) Be Creative
You might draw, paint, or build something. You might write a story, write a new song, or create an art project. Creativity exercises certain pathways in your brain that bring satisfaction and enjoyment to life. Sometimes others will appreciate your creativity but the best reward is the internal sense of accomplishment that you created something.
2) Learn Something New
Reading a book, exploring in the backyard, or asking a difficult question can each result in new knowledge you didn’t have before. There’s a delight that takes place in discovery that makes the work involved worthwhile.
3) Build Relationship
You might look for a way to build someone up. Encouraging others or taking an interest in their life draws someone closer and gives a sense of significance through relationships. You might talk to a neighbor, write a letter to grandma, or call your cousin on the phone. In any case, building relationship has special rewards.
4) Serve Others
Look for something that needs to be done and do it. It might be cleaning up the porch or fixing the toilet paper holder. Or it might be looking for a need someone has and finding a way to help out. It doesn’t take long when you look outside or around the neighborhood to find something that needs to be done, and the joy of serving others provides the internal blessings that we are contributors in life.
5) Grow Spiritually
You might memorize a Bible verse, read a passage of scripture, create a prayer list, or do a Bible Study. Growing spiritually builds strength inside the heart. It’s rewarding to look into God’s Word and then find an application of that truth in life. God is working all around. It takes a thoughtful person to stop and see what He is doing.
You might walk or run, but maybe you’re ready for something even a bit more demanding like push ups or sit ups. You might also bear crawl or crab walk around the house for a while. Exercise releases endorphins that improve attitude and enjoyment of life.
Notice that each of the above things are categories that might spark some energy inside your child’s head. Each one comes with a reward. Be sure to talk about that reward after the fact. Kids need to see that not all rewards in life are on star charts or out of someone’s wallet. The best rewards are those that develop in the heart.
For more ideas about how build internal motivation in kids, look into the book Home Improvement by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. Chapter 7 talks about more ways to encourage kids to solve problems for themselves.
If you had ideas to add, please comment. We’d all love to hear more ideas.