People write a lot about the benefits of letting kids be bored. And while that may give kids the opportunity to figure things out, I tend to want to help them when they are uncomfortable - and help them learn to navigate through their own lives.
My family was an average suburban middle class family. In the beginning, my kids went to school just like everyone else. But when it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped it would, we explored our options and started homeschooling. It took us a while to figure out our rhythm and how we wanted to approach learning and life.
But we learned a few things along the way.
Learning New Rhythms
When my son first came home from school, he complained of being bored. He had been SOO over-scheduled – if I wasn’t directing him in some way, his teacher was. He got up in the morning, ate the breakfast I had prepared for him, rushed him to get dressed, got on the bus that took him to his next 8 hours, then back home again to me.
His big "say" over his day? He could choose what snack he wanted. That was pretty much it. And then we'd be off and running again. But he never really figured out how to manage his own time or make his own way.
A Solution to Try
Once we walked away from the school system, we noticed that my son didn't really know how to figure out what to do in his day. He certainly hadn't had any practice at it!
So we walked around the entire house with a clipboard and he and I identified fun things he could do if he felt like it.
Every room had so many opportunities.
- We found toys in closets that he had set aside and forgotten about.
- We set up a few folding tables, so there were more surfaces ready for play.
- We talked about snacks he could fix without asking for help or even some cooking he could do if he wanted to be adventurous.
- The backyard, patio and front sidewalk were full of options for building and playing.
- Pets needed attention, so that was always an option.
- We had so many books (pre-Pinterest days) full of activities he could do if he wanted to make something.
I recorded all these things for him and when we were done, we taped his list onto his bedroom door:
“I’m bored, but I can…” list
For a while he referred back to it. Then in time, he got more comfortable with finding his own interests.
One last thought...
Sometimes kids say, “I’m bored,” because they need more connection with their parents. It's up to you to notice if this is the case. Remember that no person is the same. You may like a lot of "space," but your child may not. That's not a flaw on anyone, it's just a personality trait or preference. Help the kids find what works for them.
Hope this quick tip helps!
And... sometimes they just need a little help figuring out what they can do with their time.
2 UNSCHOOLING RESOURCES
Creating Confidence Membership Group
Are you feeling alone in this choice to parent differently from the mainstream ways?
Maybe your friends are asking questions and trying to get you to do things their way.
You need a circle of unschooling parents on this path too - parents who meet weekly (through Zoom) and support each other, brainstorming and offering options.
And Sue Patterson is in there,
coaching and inspiring and sharing ideas!
You Don't Have to Do This Alone!
If it's time to get the unschooling support you need, join us!
Did you know...
There's something fun to learn and celebrate every day of the month?
SOMEONE ELSE could send you these ideas to sparkle of you child's day?
For only $5
(less if you get an annual subscription)
- Monthly printable/downloadable calendar
- Topics can be about food, history, animals, fun!
- Links to explore for each day of the month
- A Weekly email with BONUS links - extras for the week!
Lots of families print out the calendar and then the child chooses which "celebration" they want to be sure to remember. Yes, it's usually food-related!