How to help your child figure out his favorite summertime activities – on his own!
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Many parents dread school vacation, searching for the best summer activities and ideas and anticipating frequent exclamations of “I’m bored!”
Does this sound familiar?
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard this before.
Especially during summer vacation, when kids don’t have school and there’s a lot of free time.
In today’s fast-paced technology-filled society, there is so much going on that many kids have become numb to their own inner world.
In The Power of Showing Up, authors Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson tackle this as one of the challenges that 21st century parents and children face.
Let’s look at boredom from the perspective of helping our kids grow into healthy adults. How can they benefit from the experience of boredom?
Well, it’s actually a wonderful thing.
Boredom is a sign that there is an inner world alive and well. That’s just waiting to be engaged.
Which is great – let’s leverage that!
In other words, if your child says “I’m bored,” forget about those great summer vacation activities for a second. Instead, grab the opportunity to help her:
- learn about herself
- take responsibility
- regulate her inner state, and
- be 100% present in her own reality
So, as a parent, how can you help your child in this process?
Well, the goal is to help her learn to recognize activities that she enjoys and to make decisions about how she wants likes to spend her time.
As is often the case with parenting, “I’m bored” offers a great opportunity to have a conversation with your child.
It might be easier to offer a quick fix solution, but as a parent, this might be the right time to change what you usually do.
A great way to start is by writing a list.
How to do that? Teach your kids how to brainstorm. Let them put together a list of realistic activities that they can and want to do. Then, when they are bored, let them choose something to do from the list.
But it’s not just about writing a list – it’s about them learning how to take responsibility for their own happiness.
While we should help our children keep busy with wholesome activities in the summer, parents do not need to be constant ‘entertainment providers.’
Making a list with your child of her best summer activities is something you can do once and refer to every once in a while.
And, more importantly, include fun summer vacation ideas that you can do together with them. Like, a good old-fashioned game of chess or a frisbee competition.
Or arts and crafts. Like creative art journaling. You can help your child start his own art journal.
How about learning something new, like a new language?
These ideas are just a start.
The idea being that your brilliant young one can find interesting things to do this summer. And you, his parent, helped him by letting him take charge of the process.
By doing that, we give our children the tools to have a fun summer, choosing activities that they enjoy on their own – and together with us.
Remember, the greatest present you can give your kids is your presence – so do fun stuff together!
Post updated: May 16, 2020