Working with the cry of ‘I’m bored!’

For school age children to be truly creative they need to have the space to be bored and then to figure out what they can do to stop themselves being bored. The summer is a great time to practice this as there are less urgent demands of needing to leave the house at a certain time, structured activities and clubs etc.

For children that cannot read you could put picture cards in a room with some ideas of what they could do, particularly if they are unused to this, or a written list for older children. Once you have checked that the room is ok for them to play, you can leave and find some thing else to do. If you are in the room they are likely to default to asking you or relying on you to solve problems for them.

Some children will immediately be drawn to the outside, others to crafts or games. This is a time when they can experiment with activities that they enjoy and make them their own. Or they may find some of those toys that have been gathering dust in their bedrooms and play with those again (always put play with your toys in your room on the list!)

There is a flip side to the time out of the room for you! When you return you have to be very interested in what they have created. Listen well to the rules of game that may be impossible to understand or love the smell of the ‘rose perfume’. You can comment on how well they have played on their and how they have managed to occupy themselves.

You will notice that watching tv and playing on a tablet/computer have not yet been mentioned… these can be on the list but only if you know that they are being inspired or creative with them. Like coding their own game, creating animations or singing along with the Horrible Histories crew! These can be on the list.

For older children getting outside and playing with other children (if there are some around) is also great to do. Children need periods of unsupervised social activity to develop their social muscles. To learn to negotiate and compromise. Modern technology such as phones and watches can make it easier for parents to be in contact with their kids without needing to be right next to them. Send them on errands to get something from the shop or help out a neighbour.

All of these help to build emotional resilience and a sense of responsibility in children. This alternated with times in the day where you really get down and play (no phones or tv) with the kids and laugh and have fun with them will help them retain emotional balance. So enjoy some time to yourselves (or build up to it!) and enjoy time to play. Have a lovely summer!

If you would like to hear more about building emotional resilience in kids come along to Modern Parenting Must Haves seminar in Harrogate on the 16th September 9.30-12. Contact tracy@enrichingparenting for more information and to book.

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