June 3, 2009

Mom, I'm Bored

Actually, these are words I NEVER hear in my house. My kids have always entertained themselves with books, games, puzzles, arts and crafts, swimming, dress up, make-believe etc...
According to the Bible, my primary job is to be a help meet to husband.

And then there is cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, babies to take care of...and all that other good stuff that goes along with being a wife, mother, home schooler...fill in your own job description here.

No where along the line does my job description say entertainment coordinator. Anyone looking around here would be redirected to one of the following.

To Carnival cruises. I have heard that they employ a full time activities director and have planned activities scheduled 24/7. Interested parties will be required to pay your own way.

To Disney World. Again, I have been there and found more activities than we could do in a 14 day period. It is in fact an expensive endeavor so the child looking to find something to do, could certainly get a job or take up door to door begging. He will keep busy for the summer trying to earn his money. Perchance, he gets enough to pay his way...it is no longer Mom's problem...Mickey Mouse can figure out what to do with him until school starts again.

OK, so I jest. But, seriously I have never heard those words from my kids mouths. We take very long car trips at least once a year, involving 13-18 hours of driving. Even then I do not hear those oh so annoying words. They manage to keep themselves happy the whole time...reading, listening to books on CD, singing, playing games together...

During the summer, they work around the gardens in the morning. There is weeding, watering, picking and canning to be done. They all have a part in it, know how to do their part and are expected to do it. There are other jobs like mowing and tending to the pool that must be done as well. When they are finished working they are grateful for their free time and jump into above mentioned activities with glee.

We quite often spend the late afternoons, before dinner, reading aloud together under a big tree in our yard. After dinner, which is almost always on the grill, we play outdoor games together as a family. Before bed, we usually finish with a dip in the pool to cool down and get everyone relaxed for bed.

We home school, as I've mentioned before. At the end of each school year, usually the end of March, I give each child a subject to work on over the summer. It might be finishing something that we didn't get to during the school year, a research project, writing assignment, special Bible study or something to start for the next semester. In case of bad attitudes, they know where their assignments are and go off by themselves to work on it. This has always been very effective to maintain peace and harmony in our home.

If the I'm bored whine was an issue, I would keep a list of chores to be done to fill the time. Washing walls, baseboards, cleaning out the shed/garage, painting ceilings and chopping and/or stacking firewood are just a few that come to mind right away. If you commonly hear this phrase, I would start my list now and have it ready before school lets out.

Not to say I don't plan fun family activities for all of us to enjoy. We like to go to parks, the zoo and play tennis. We picnic, swim and play kick ball. We love to go visit friends and family and go fishing. On rainy days we like to color, paint, do puzzles, bake, play board games, put on shows...

Our RC Cinemas always host a free family movie festival on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. There are always two family movies showing to choose from. The two movies change each week. If it is a movie we like, we buy a big tub of popcorn and enjoy the cool for a few hours. You can check the RC Cinemas on line to find one in your area and get a listing of the shows for this summer.

Other cool things to do in the summer...give the kids a package of water balloons, visit local museums, zoos, aquariums. We like to visit the local fire house carnivals each week. Did I mention biking, hiking and swimming?

Visit local nursing homes. They get a lot of traffic during the holidays but are forgotten the rest of the year. And what about community service? Giving to others is always good for character training and the soul.

My girls also spend time during the summer planning and sewing their wardrobe for the fall and winter. In fact, they each usually are working on a special sewing project to enter in our County Fair in the Fall.

The boys don't miss out on the fair just because they don't sew. They are also busy during the summer building, making and constructing things to enter into the competition. Whether they win or not, there is always a special excitement when they go into that building and see their hard work on display.

We keep a basket of letters and cards we receive from friends and loved ones. We have spent many a happy afternoon sitting outdoors reading the letters, praying for the senders and then writing letters back to let them know we were thinking about them and praying for them today.

Bottom line? My point is this...what my own grandmother always said. "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." A child who has been left to be idle will not know how to entertain himself. If a kid is standing around with nothing to do, put him to work. He will either get a lot done or learn to entertain himself. Don't cripple a child's brain and creativity by thinking it up for him.

A child who has been entertained all his life will not know how to keep himself entertained. It is just laziness (developed by being allowed to be idle) that a child can't find something to do. If we constantly fill up their time with entertainment and activities we are robbing them of the ability and joy of an afternoon with nothing to do and finding the adventure to fill it with.

This is what works for me. For more Works-For-Me-Wednesdays go to We Are That Family


  1. I am smiling because AFTER posting my entry I come over and read basically the same thing I wrote. No whining!! You have such a lot of great ideas here also. Thanks!

  2. Glad I stopped by! What a neat blog -

    Blessings to you!

  3. We rarely hear "I'm bored" at our house too. I love your ideas, particularly the one about reading old letters and writing new ones. That sounds like a great new tradition to start here!

  4. I've never liked hearing those words and, admittedly, they have been spoken in our home. It is rare because it's not looked well upon by my husband or myself. Having a list handy is definitely a motivator for the children to not utter said words. Definitely works for us.

    I really like some of the ideas and things you do. Great job!

  5. You do have some pretty great ideas for keeping them busy...I might be using you as a sounding board this summer because I think I have a great plan and then whammy...it stinks!!! ;)

    Thanks for your comment on the MOM blog today! I LOVE word verifications so it is really fun!!!!


  6. "We love to visit friends and family and fish."

    And how are the fish this summer? :)