Kids stuck inside because of the freezing weather?! Click through to get my must have number one tip for when the kids are stuck at home and are "bored"!
Nothing. Do nothing.
Yes. That's my tip. You know why? I'm a parent, not a Cruise Director. I do not have a list of things to tick off every day when the kids are bored. I do not have an endless supply of crafts or activities or games or things to do when they are "bored". What I do have, is stuff to do: laundry to put away, meals that need to be made (oh and there's some work that helps pay our bills, there's always that too).
And what do they have? Well, when it is too cold to go outside (because backyard is a biggie and usually the main thing), they have crayons and paint and toys (SO MANY TOYS). They have board games and books and television and construction paper and kid safe scissors. They have each other. They have couches and blankets and this great thing called an imagination. (They also have chores to do too, let's not forget those).
When I was little my favorite game was "hot lava". Why? I have NO IDEA but the sheer thought of hot lava flowing through our house fascinated us as kids. We would pretend that the floor was hot lava and anything that touched it would burn to a crisp (we ignored the fact that yes, the furniture would burn to a crisp too but whatever) and we had to hop from couch to chair to table or bed to bed, avoiding the lava at all costs. This alone would keep us occupied for at least an hour. No toys, no games, no parental guidance on HOW to play the hot lava game, in fact I'm pretty sure a parent only appeared if there was a loud thump followed by crying (and usually only after a verbal check in from the downstairs "ARE YOU OKAY?!").
The thing is, our children need to be bored. It teaches them how to be self reliant and to come up with their own creative solutions. They learn how to decide for themselves how to use periods of unstructured time and build valuable time management skills. With our screen centered society, kids can become so used to screen entertainment that they don't know how to look inside themselves for direction. Also, with our hyper scheduled lives, kids time can become so structured that they aren’t used to finding fun things to do with their “free time" because they don't have "free time". Sound familiar, parents? No free time?
Think back to when you were a child. Did you have free time? The answer is probably a resounding YES. While having a schedule and structure is a good thing for a child as it helps them feel secure knowing what is going to happen during their day, we also need to remember that not every single second needs to be filled with something to do.
Nowadays, when my kids tell me they're bored, I tell them how happy I am to hear that, and I explain that I am helping them build their time management skills and explore their imaginations and creativity.
They look at me like I have ten heads, but it's all worth it.