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Summertime Boredom: How to Respond

Now that it's summertime, kids are home from school, feeling bored and/or antsy, and the last thing you want to do is entertain or occupy them 24-7 when you have a thousand other things that need to be done. Here are some things you should start with:

  1. Let go of the idea that your kids need you to entertain them all the time. Kids are more than capable of finding ways to entertain themselves. Just make sure they are being safe while playing alone or with others.

  2. There are always things they can do to help you around the house. Give them two options to choose from. If they choose neither, don't worry. You've done your job as a parent in giving them the opportunity to decide what they want to do. Make sure to acknowledge their choice, no matter what it is.

  3. You could implement a chore chart in your home where various rewards are given for helping out in different ways. These can range from small rewards like an extra 10 minutes before bedtime or large rewards like a trip to the water park.

Here are a few ideas that might help when your child says he or she is bored and you're not sure how to respond without becoming annoyed or angry:

"That must be hard feeling bored. What can you think of to do?"

"When I'm bored, I look around to see what needs to be done."

"Some kids choose to [insert specific activity or chore here] when they are bored."

"How's your summer reading going?"

"I know you're feeling bored right now, what would you like to do?"

Again, I want to emphasize that alleviating your child's boredom is NOT your responsibility. Your child is a creative, imaginative being with plenty of opportunities to find things to do. Your job as the parent is to serve as his or her guide to offer suggestions, choices, and ultimately leave the decision to him or her. Good luck and start enjoying more freedom from boredom!

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