Kids LOVE to complain that they are bored. Parents HATE to hear their kids complain that they are bored. I don't hear "I'm bored" a lot, because I don't really give them satisfying answers. I NEVER suggest what they really want (television), and actually, I never suggest anything. Here are the top answers I give my kids when they tell me they are bored.
- That sucks. What do you want to do? - This is my go-to, and what I say at least 50% of the time.
- Go clean your room.
- Fold the laundry on the couch. - There is always laundry on the couch when seven people live in a house.
- You have a ton of books, go read.
The key to the last three is making sure that they are aware that it is not a suggestion. Its not "find something to do, or I will find something for you to do" which will do nothing to discourage them from complaining about it next time. It is "okay, you said you were bored, I found you a solution, when you are done you can find your own entertainment."
I have found that by scheduling their time, I don't hear things along the lines of "I'm bored" very often. After school the girls come home, put their stuff away, get in their play clothes, and then do homework or workbooks for an hour. When that hour is over, they go play outside for an hour unless it is really raining, then they play in the house. After that, they take turns in the shower, the other girls reading. Then we have dinner, do devotions, then they can watch a show, then bedtime. When they always know what is coming they don't really wonder bother to complain about boredom. Plus on the weekends they are excited to have unscheduled time, and be able to play with their toys that they don't really have time to do on weekdays because I think that reading, outside play, and homework are all more important priorities.
The schedule isn't hardcore. We don't follow it everyday. Wednesdays they have AWANAS, and at least once a week we drive Michael to school and go shopping and out to eat. Fridays they stay up later. Thursdays they have Good News Club. Honestly we probably follow the schedule fewer days than we don't follow it on an average week. But when everyone is at home for the afternoon, it is nice to have a plan. It is nice that they know what they are going to be doing.
One thing missing from our schedule is chores. They don't have chores everyday beyond cleaning their room, making their beds, and picking up after themselves. Not because I don't think chores are a great way to teach them self-reliance and responsibility, but because my house is to messy. I have clutter every where, so I can't really assign them to vacuum when the floor is littered with laundry, pre-school supplies, and other miscellaneous items. So once a week or so we all work together to clean the house, but they don't do chores everyday at this point.
One thing my mom always said to me when I complained about boredom was "Only boring people can be bored." It always irritated me (which was probably the point LOL) so I don't say that one. Yet. I might get there at some point. I say everything else she used to say to me...