It’s those two dreaded words that set parents’ teeth on edge: I’m bored. We uttered them ourselves when we were young and they have certainly been repeated back to us in our houses. But is being bored so bad?
We recently came across this quote from Authentic Parenting author Naomi Aldort: “Boredom is an invention of a dependent mind,” and it got us thinking. Ms. Aldort sees boredom as an opportunity; She suggest that children listen enjoy some peace and quiet, or take a walk in nature, and that parents don’t rush to entertain our kids (thus fueling their need to be stimulated constantly) all the time. Our mom often told us that her father lived this theory by not filling his kids’ days with activities and excursions. That may partially have been a function of having twelve—yes twelve!—children but now, as parents, we can appreciate this practice. Kids really do best when left to their own imaginations. Whether encouraging them to create things from items found around the house or playing old fashioned games like tug o’ war, we might all benefit from not rushing to fill these lazy summer days.
In her spare time, our cousin’s six-year-old daughter Sophia has been building and creating from whatever she can find. A dress made from dried baby wipes. A house for her dolls made out of folders. Fatima, Sophia’s mommy, isn’t a homeschooler or a super-granola mama. Far from it. But we loved seeing that her daughter has the time and the space (aka “boredom”) to forage for materials and use her imagination to create something on her own.
When Soraya started writing this post, her eleven-year-old daughter Siena busted out a Summer Bucket List she had created on her iTouch, and it was quite inventive. It deviates a little from Ms. Aldort’s theory of not entertaining our kids, but we found it creative enough to include as another Rx for summer boredom. (Our favorite item on the list was “teach Bibijan to text.” Bibijan is an endearing term for grandma. Genius idea, right? That one could have been on our own to do list as it would certainly make life easier for us too.) Why not create a Summer Bucket List with your own kids for when those dreaded words come up? Either let the kids take turns picking to-dos from the list or, if you’re game, make it interesting and put all of the ideas on strips of paper and draw them blindly from a bucket.
We are sharing Siena’s Summer Bucket List here:
- go to Mother Moo Creamery for ice cream
- make a scrapbook
- start a lemonade stand
- plant a garden
- teach Bibijan to text
- play in the sprinklers
- beach day at Paradise Cove
- plan a picnic in your backyard
- play Clue
- eat at the Heirloom food truck
- make s’mores
- go berry picking
- make homemade popsicles
- play charades
- take the Metrolink somewhere fun
- make your own photo booth with a polaroid and cardboard box
We’re embracing boredom and will see where it takes us this summer.
With seven children ranging in age from eight months to sixteen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.