Why We Are Embracing Summer Boredom

Photo by Amy Bone Photography

I wish you were here right now sitting next to me. In my office, with the window open to take advantage of the summer breeze, eyeing the clock and making a mental note of how much time is left before having a glass of wine is acceptable, listening to my son repeat over and over again that he is bored. He is so close to me that I can actually feel his breath and the angst in his whining. All summer long I have been hearing a constant chorus of “I’m bored, I’m bored, I’m bored.” For the first few weeks I got frustrated, but then I came to an experienced mom epiphany. What is it, you ask? Well, I realized that I am NOT a cruise director and that I need to teach my kids how to actually BE bored and use it to their advantage. Yes, that’s right. We are embracing boredom this summer. Here’s why.

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With Boredom Comes Creativity

So many people ask me why I created my blog. And it was because I was going a bit stir crazy solely being a stay at home mom when I used to spend my days teaching kids and leading a team of teachers. As much as I loved being home with my babies, I just wasn’t getting the emotional stimulation or socialization that I desperately needed, so I started my blog. It has allowed me to be creative and take on new responsibilities and join in on experiences that I never before thought were possible.

 

So I’m letting my kids be bored this summer so they too become creative. Now, to be clear, sometimes that creativity leads to time outs and Mommy needing to hide in the bathroom and count to ten. I’m not the biggest fan of THAT type of creativity. So I set up parameters for creativity by doing things like setting up an art station in our playroom full of art supplies that my boys always have access to and creating a bin of dress up clothes so they can let their imaginations run wild. Yes, it can be annoying wiping paint off the wall, but I will happily do that in exchange for a moment’s peace and to see the pride in my boys’ eyes when they see their finished artwork taped to our refrigerator.

 

It Takes the Pressure Off Being a Perfect Parent

Sometimes when I scroll through my Instagram feed I get a major case of FOMO. But you know what? It is my job to research and promote events so families can know if an activity is worth their time and money. So when I’m off the clock, we are ALL off the clock. Having unstructured and unscheduled time in the day (or even an entire day with no official plans—SWOON!) takes the pressure off and just allows us to be a regular old family.

 

Now if you ask my boys, they don’t want to be a regular old family. They constantly want to be doing things, so I have learned to ask THEM what they want to do. Sometimes they will come up with grand ideas like go back on our Disney Cruise (sorry, dudes, but it’s either college or another pricey vacation) but other times they suggest taking a bike ride in the forest preserve and we JUMP at their ideas. Putting the ball in their court also encourages less whining and complaining so that we actually ENJOY how we are spending time as a family to boot.

Photo by Amy Bone Photography

It Teaches My Kids How to Unplug & Relax

My boys stopped napping YEARS ago, but since they still don’t go to full day school (until this Fall—woo hoo!) it leaves a TON of hours to fill each day. So we have quiet time for ALL OF US every afternoon. What does quiet time look like? Each of us spending time alone in our rooms, whether reading, drawing, completing puzzles, racing cars…the options are endless. Just be sure to rotate toys and items that are in your children’s rooms so things don’t get stale.

 

One of our BIGGEST rules with quiet time is that no screens are allowed and that is the mantra that we try to instill in our summers. Don’t get me wrong, we all love cuddling on the couch with a massive bowl of popcorn for family movie night, but during the summer I try to push my kids outside to play instead of staring at a screen. Swap screen time for green time, if you will.

 

After spending time independently playing whether in their rooms or outside in the yard, their buttons are definitely refreshed and my boys do a better job articulating what they need (almost always a snack to fend off their hangry personalities) or what they would like to do (typically it involves playing some type of game with me—which is fine because I become refreshed from the quiet time “mom break” as well!).

 

When things really get rough (I’m looking at YOU, August), we also bust out our summer boredom bag that is filled with games, toys, and trinkets that my boys haven’t seen before. But again, that is my absolute last resort right before school is back in session. Here’s to hoping this post inspires you to take a break from cruise director responsibilities and to teach your kids the beauty in boredom.

Photo by Amy Bone Photography

Happy Creating!
Amanda
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Comments

  1. Katrina says

    Love all your ideas! I’m guilty of always trying to keep our schedule full but sometimes it’s great to let kids just be kids. Let them figure out what they want to do!

  2. Marysa says

    I totally agree with this! I think kids do need to learn how to be bored and figure out how to spend time without schedules or electronics. My kids like having this kind of free range summer.

    • Amanda says

      So far this summer we have come up with the perfect balance of structured and unstructured time and it has been fantastic!

  3. Melanie Frost says

    I have to admit that I’m a little jealous. I only have 1 child so the only playmate my kid has is me and dad and we both work so my poor kid is bored all the freaking time. Your kids have each other which is super nice so they always have a playmate. I need to plan some playdates I think!

    • Amanda says

      I totally understand what you mean. Playdates are great, but so is learning to play independently. It will save your sanity, too!

  4. Tami says

    You are making awesome decisions as a parent. I need to unplug my kiddo (and myself) for the summer. It always does our attitudes a great service.

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