Children are curious about things in the home and can usually find things to do or tinker with, but sometimes they do need help coming up with new ideas. Instead of keeping them running to you every time they need ideas, supply them with as many ideas as you can.
Here are some ways to keep your child from being bored. Put an end to boredom in your home.
Create an activity list.
You can post an activity list on the fridge or in your child’s bedroom. It will contain everything under the moon that they can occupy themselves with. You may constantly be adding to this list as you come across more ideas. With this list, your child can pick something to do on her own, instead of sitting around being bored or coming to you needing to be told what to do.
Here are some ideas to help you get you started: read, play a board game, write a story, draw, paint, dance to music, create masks from paper plates, put on a play/show, write a letter to grandma.
Create a boredom jar.
Assuming that the activity list doesn’t work and your child still comes to you claiming to be bored, you can have the boredom jar ready. The boredom jar will be filled with random chores. When your child says she is bored, she must pull out a chore from the jar and do it. Your child will quickly learn that the words “I’m bored” leads to chores, and she will do her best to find something to occupy herself with.
Here are some chore ideas to help you get started: dust, do dishes, sweep the floors, vacuum, pick up her room, pick up toys that are laying around the house, collect newspapers to be recycled. Obviously the chores that your child can do depend on her age, so put age-appropriate chores into the chore jar.
Make TV a treat, not a fallback activity.
Children who watch too much TV seem to have more problems keeping themselves entertained when they aren’t watching TV. Instead of letting your child turn on the TV whenever she wants, make it a treat. Instead of lounging in front of the TV for hours, your child will have time to do other things that encourage her creativity and independent play. It is important that your child be able to occupy herself and use her imagination, without always relying on someone else to do it.
Children are supposed to explore the world around them. Remember that they haven’t seen all the things that you have. When your child is exploring, avoid saying things such as “don’t touch that” (unless it is truly dangerous), “don’t make a mess”, or “stop being loud”. These things are all part of being a child.
Some parents will allow their child to run around the backyard and dig up worms. Yes, your child and her clothes will need a good washing after, but the experience can be good for her. If your child knows she can do things without constantly being told to stop, she will likely be able to find plenty of ways to occupy herself.
As your child grows, the list of activities and chores will change. Encourage your child to try new things and explore the world.