It’s summertime! Now is the season for grilling burgers and swimming pool parties. It’s time for sunscreen and shorts. It means that the temperature is rising and outdoor activities are abundant. Unfortunately, it also means that school is out and your kids are suddenly given a lot more free time. That also means that your free time has gone from a few hours to get things done to practically none. The instinct to provide our children with constant activities can be overwhelming. We want to keep them preoccupied and provide them with ideas to keep them busy so that we can get household chores and obligations completed. However, planning how your child spends their whole summer can actually be more of a hindrance than helpful. There are so many great benefits from letting your child be bored. It’s not only great for you but also for your child’s development and for family bonding.
Build Character Through Boredom
Allowing your child to get bored creates a great opportunity to let their imagination and creativity shine as well as fostering a propensity for self-motivation. When your child comes to you complaining of boredom, ask them to tell you about activities they like to do to entertain themselves. If you can do this continually, your child will begin to understand that they can rely on themselves to find their own happiness. This sense of self-reliance is something they will carry with themselves throughout their lives. It helps them more easily achieve self-motivation in many other aspects of their life. They will also start to learn how to contemplate. Giving your child a chance to sit back and think things through, even if it’s just to try figuring out what activity they’d like to do, helps them develop independent and critical thinking skills. As your child starts building these life skills they will still come to you for ideas.
Reap The Subsequent Benefits
Giving your child some ideas for how to alleviate their boredom is where you get to see some of the benefits for yourself. Instant helpers! It’s going to take some patience as they learn how to perform the necessary functions but eventually, your household chore time will be significantly reduced. When my kids were young, I would remind them that assisting me around the house is a great way to make sure they’re on the Nice List and something to include in their letter to Santa. Now that I have young nieces and nephews, we use a free personalized Nice List you can find here. Delegate chores based on your child’s age and abilities. For instance, folding laundry can start as young as four years old. The repetitive nature of this task lends itself well to teaching a young mind. You can also ask them to help you plan and prepare family meals. Having your children help you plan and prepare what they’ll have for dinner is a wonderful way to ensure that they’ll eat what’s made. If you have a picky eater, it will also encourage them to try something new. While your household chores are cut in half, your child will be learning life skills they will need when they eventually move out of your home and into their own living spaces. It’s also a great way to get your family to spend time together.
Relaxing the structure of summertime activities can lead to more family bonding. At the beginning of the summer ask your child to write down or tell you what they would like to do over the summer. Make sure you give them the guideline that it has to be something that doesn’t involve the TV or video games. This way you can be sure that your kids will be happy to participate in the family outing, as they will have been the one to suggest it. You’ll also want to plan a few family outings that involve spending time outside. For example: a trip to the lake, beach, or an easy hike on a nature trail. You could also plan a trip to the local berry patch to pick fresh local produce or have your kids help you plan and plant a vegetable garden. Planting seeds teaches patience, daily caretaking and a sense of suspense as you wait for the vegetables to grow. Kids are a lot more likely to have a nutritious diet if they can be a part of the food growing process.
Try allowing your kids to have an open schedule this summer. They might not be used to having time with their thoughts but they will eventually learn to enjoy having free time to pursue their own interests. It will be a joy to watch them develop themselves in such an insightful way. You’ll love having helpers around and seeing your family grow closer together.