Curing Boredom in Children

I’ve noticed a lot of young people and children complain of being bored a good deal of the time.  I was puzzled as to why this would be.  As near as I can recall, I’ve never been bored.  I finally decided that it must not take that much to entertain me.

I love to read, so I’ve always kept a book at hand to read when I have the time.  If I don’t want to read, then I’ll write as I enjoy doing that just as much as I like reading.  If I don’t want to do either of those, I’ll draw and paint (or some other form of coloring: sometimes I’ll use crayons) since that is another thing I get a great deal of enjoyment from.  I’m not a great artist or anything like that, indeed, I’ve never been schooled in it – unless you count the two drawing classes I took at the community college for the humanities portion of the electronics curriculum I was in at the time (took the drawing lessons because that was something I’d always done anyway).  Or I’ll go for a walk (weather permitting).  If there is absolutely nothing else I want to do at the time, nothing I want to watch on TV, no old movie I want to see, then I’ll just sit and think.  I reckon you’d call that daydreaming.

Anyway, I know exactly how to keep kids from being bored.  This is a time to get all that stuff done that you haven’t had time to get around to doing, and  entertain your kids at the same time, such as getting help with straightening the garage or basement.  There are lots of entertaining things to do around a house that kids can do.  I had a lot in my repertoire when I was raising my kids.  Herewith are a few tips for keeping your children entertained when they come whining and complaining there is nothing to do:

1. If they are over the age of eight, hand the kid a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels and direct them to the inside windows of the house.  Don’t worry about them being too little to do this, or about them doing a good job.  Give them a step stool and a squeegee and believe me, they will do a good job.  Maybe not the first time they go over the windows, but even the most inept of them will finally get it done right by, say, the fourth time over.  Then, send them to get the bathroom mirrors.

2. If they’re over twelve, get a bottle of window wash that can be connected to a hose and send them out doors to clean the outside of the windows when they’ve finished with the insides.  Explain to them that they have to cover the bushes or flowers first.  Of course, you should only send them out for this during nice or warm weather as you’ll want to avoid icy windows – or kids.

3. Have them clean up the mess they made while doing the windows.

 4. If they are under the age of eight, get them to take old newspapers and magazines that you’ve been meaning to put in the recycle bin but haven’t gotten around to yet, out to the bin, and have them empty every waste can in the house and place plastic bags in them.  If you don’t have enough waste cans, go buy some.

 5. Then, have them pick up the stuff they dropped or spilled while carrying it to the recycle bin or emptying the cans.

6. This is a great opportunity to get the walls cleaned of fingerprints and spots. Don’t forget the doors and the knobs. Even really small kids, down to the age of four I found, can clean off spots and dirty doors especially if you give them one of those Mr. Clean Eraser sponges to work with.

 7. Have them clean up the mess from cleaning up the walls and doors.

8. This is also a good time to get the vacuuming done. Don’t be concerned if it’s not done the way you would do it. The point is, you’re not having to do it because your bored kid is doing it instead.

9. Have the kid empty the cleaner and put it away.

10. If you have a garden, either flower or vegetable, send them out to pull weeds. Of course, you should point out to them first, exactly which are the weeds. You may want to supervise this activity closely from your lawn chair with the sunshade while sipping on your favorite iced beverage, just in case.  Don’t forget leaf raking in the fall. (side note: my oldest daughter swears that my mother, who babysat her and her sister and brother after my divorce whilst I worked my two, sometimes three jobs, planted weeds just to keep them busy.  Hmm.  She could be right.  I remember pulling a lot of weeds when I was a child.)

After such entertaining sessions, you may find your kids are never bored again, and they will protest they aren’t bored when you’re trying to get them to perform such duties at a later time. In these cases, simply explain to them that you are helping them continue to not be bored by enabling them to retain whatever devices of entertainment you have provided for them, such as toys, laptops, cell ‘phones, games, etc., by performing these  really entertaining functions you have laid out for them.  They’ll understand when it’s properly explained.

I must say, my children, who are grown now, one with children and grandchildren of his own, are never bored.  They got over that early on.  Neither were my grandchildren when they came to visit me.  And, as soon as my great-grandchildren get older, they won’t be bored when they come visit Granny either.

If nothing else, I got weeds.

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