We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.
Q: I do my best to keep my kids active in the summer, but I am already hearing, “Mom, I’m bored!” and it is only June! Do you have any suggestions in terms of keeping them busy?
A: I doubt there is a parent reading this who has not heard those words. Kids are so used to being entertained every minute that parents honestly need to teach them how to relax and have downtime. That said, here are 10 suggestions that may help.
10 Summer Boredom Beaters
- Turn off the TV, computer, and other electronic forms of entertainment. Electronic “stuff” teaches kids to attend for short intervals, encourages passive activity, and doesn’t stimulate cognitive development.
- Enroll your child in day camps or park and recreation activities. Many cities have organized opportunities for children.
- Find a fun class such as cooking, sculpting, tap-dancing, or pottery-making. Experiment with an area of interest.
- Buy a pass to a community pool. Swimming is active, fun, and interactive. It’s also a great way to beat summer heat!
- Get involved in the public library with a summer reading program. You will reinforce reading skills, explore books, and relax in an air-conditioned room.
- Explore your city. Check out the museums, points of interest, fun stores, etc. Check out this list of "staycation" ideas in cities across the country!
- Volunteer for civic organizations or church activities as helpers, workers, or whatever is needed. Do a park clean-up day or a walk to fight cancer, teach at Vacation Bible School and take the kids, or plant flowers at your church.
- Get kids helping others, such as doing errands for a homebound adult.
- Help your child develop a hobby, such as bird-watching, card-collecting, or marbles. Have your child organize groups around those activities.
- Encourage creative play around the house. Have bountiful art supplies, water games, board games, and cards. Put on dramatic plays. Be prepared for rainy days.
What do you do when your child proclaims, "I’m bored"?
The Big Summer Activity Book by Anne Thomas and Peter Thomas (Floris Books, 2009)