bw-children2“Life is never boring,but some people choose to be bored.”

I’ve never accepted it when my children have said, “Mum, I’m bored“. I would always respond with various quips until they simply stopped telling me that they were bored. I made a chart and pinned it to the wall so that the minute I started to hear that whine of “Muuuum…I’m …” I would send them to the chart. Always worked! They became busy and productive in areas and the boredom soon disappeared. However, I’ve always found it easiest to teach the children about boredom when they are not bored! I talked to them about it, taught them what to do when they’re bored…told them about their choices – encouraged them to be proactive. Then, when that familiar cry comes, I was simply reinforcing what I’d already taught.

I would tell the children that boredom is an attitude and a choice. They could choose not to be bored! That’s quite empowering, isn’t it? And it’s true. However, there are times when boredom is a good thing- if handled correctly. Firstly, I’d make sure that the child’s basic needs were all met- physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, etc. (The book series, The Five Love Languages are especially helpful for discerning needs of children)  Once I had ascertained that their needs were met, chores had been done, etc I would point them toward the list.

Sometimes it’s good to be bored as it gives us the opportunity to have some quiet time and just *be*…time to think, to process. Usually though, this is a slightly different thing to boredom as my children have never claimed to be bored while having this ‘time’.

Here are the things I put on the chart but I’m sure you could think of much more.

Read a book
Make a card for someone
Write a letter
Play dress ups
Write a story
Jigsaw puzzle
Board games
Ping pong
Listen to music and dance
Take Jazz for walk
Do a nature hunt
Clean backyard
Clean car
Iron clothes
Bake a cake
Make popcorn and then make jewelry
Have a bath and play in it
Do a word search
Colour in or do drawing
Leaf or tree rubbings
Make paper (paper kit)
Throw softball
Rehearse a play and put on show
Write book review
Science experiment
Hide and Seek
Create cubby house
Make paper airplanes / dolls
Have a ‘drinking water contest’
Do a crossword
Look at photo albums
Carve soap
Look for ways to bless your brother/sister/mother/father…

“Only those who want everything done for them are bored.”
~Billy Graham

“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.”
W. R. Inge

“A man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore”
Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Originally compiled in 2001 but I lost it until hunting around on my computer in 2009