Does it drive you crazy when your kids complain for the umpteenth time that “Mom, I am bored”?
Or is it just me?
I wish there was a magic wand that could solve this problem!
I don’t know why kids think being bored is not their problem, but their mom’s.
Whatever! We are moms, and we are here to help them solve their problems. They know that mom has a solution for everything, hence the whining.
So, what to do when your kids are at home bored?
Make a list!
Yes, that’s what we do when we can’t find anything to do. This is true, especially for the summer holidays when the intensity of whining reaches its peak.
But before we make a list, let me tell you two things.
Boredom is not all bad.
Kids being bored is not something we need to be worried of. As a part of raising wholesome adults, kids need to be trained on managing their idle time too.
But more points if they can do it without shoving a screen on their face 24×7.
It is doable if we manage to raise kids to manage their screen time from childhood.
According to science, children require boredom to function at their highest potential. This is because boredom helps to develop curiosity, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking.
They learn to be resourceful if we let them be on their own when they are bored.
I think today’s kids feel that they need to fill each and every second with an activity or else they will look for a screen to engage themselves.
I somehow want to convince them that staring at space and daydreaming are good activities too. Because when you come back from the daydream after traveling through your deepest desires or wildest imaginations, you somehow can feel happier and inspired.
Isn’t it from those daydreams you get to know what kind of life you want to live? Don’t those daydreams help you understand yourself better?
Staring at a screen doesn’t give you the space or time to think.
So, instead of fearing kids’ complaints of being bored, encourage them to sit with themselves without doing anything at all.
You are not responsible for managing their time
Kids somehow manage to unleash all their emotions and rants with their mothers more than with their fathers.
They do a pretty well job of holding their emotions until they get a glimpse of mom.
As comforting this piece of truth as it can be, moms also start feeling the need to be responsible for managing kids’ free time.
In the earlier decades, parents could let their kids wander outside as much as they wanted and only saw them when they returned from playing outside. Or they could be just hanging out with friends and chatting.
But, today it’s different. In fact, some surveys show that kids today get only half of the outdoor playtime compared to what their parents got.
Some contributing factors are fear and ease of availability of technology.
Since kids are indoors more, they are also more bored. But still, it doesnt mean we should be held responsible to engage them all the time.
You can make sure they have the appropriate toys and tools to engage themselves with.
You can provide guidelines or offer suggestions on how to manage their free time, but also let them know subtly that they are the masters of their time.
That being said, as a part of raising independent kids, we can help kids create a list of boredom-busting activities from which they can choose what to do at each given point in time.
Once you create the list, you don’t have to rack your brain hard each time when kids complain of boredom. You can just remind them of the list and ask them to select one activity from it.
You can either create a list and stick it somewhere or you can make a boredom-buster jar.
If you want ideas that will end boredom for kids, here are some:
BOREDOM-BUSTING ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS
Toddlerhood is all about exploring and therefore activities that promote visual, gross, and fine motor skills are beneficial for them.
- Do crafts
- Counting activities
- Playing with soft toys
- Finger painting
- Play with water toys in a kiddie pool
- Big chunky puzzles
- Bubble wraps
- Building blocks
- Sensory bin play
- Treasure hunt games
- Rock painting
- ‘I spy’ game to teach the names of objects
- Play hide and seek
- Bake with them (make them knead and roll the dough)
- Read with them
- Play doctor
- Play with a cardboard box (get inside it or paint it)
- Water some plants
- Play with play-dough or do activities with egg tray molds
- Draw with chalk on a board
- Play with bubbles
- Pretend play
BOREDOM-BUSTING ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS TO ELEMENTARY KIDS
- Coloring and drawing
- Do Ice painting
- Scavenger hunt
- Outdoor play – running race, playing a sport, skipping, blowing bubbles, etc
- Music and dance
- Go for a walk and count the number of blue cars
- Paint their nails
- Cook together – make easy recipes like lemonade, nice cream, easy sandwiches, etc
- Do science experiments
- Play board games
- Do simple sewing or crochet projects
- Do yoga
- Go to a park or a pool
- Make a colored salt dough
- Make fruit kebabs
- Make mud pie
- Play Minute to Win It games
- Bake some cookies, make hot chocolate, pop up a teepee tent and play indoor camping
- Do activity books or activity sheets from the web
- Make slime and play with it
- Play truth or dare
- Have a chat session with these questions. These will help you to learn about them better and also make them think.
- House chores. House chores can be an efficient way for them to deal with boredom. They will feel much more productive and happier after cleaning up/organizing a space. Set a timer and ask them to clean a space as much as they can in 30 minutes.
- Read an encyclopedia and learn a new fact. Read up more on a topic they are interested about and watch videos too.
- Build a fort
- Solve a crossword or sudoku
- Go on a bike ride
- Make handmade gifts for someone
- Play charades
- List your favorite things
- Try finger painting
- Build a fort using pillows, blankets, sheets, and lights. Play pretend games or board games inside it and have yummy snacks too.
- Download and do fun or educational worksheets
- Write a letter to your grandparents or friends and send it by snail mail. Ask them for a reply letter too. There is nothing more fun and rewarding than receiving handwritten mail in this digital era.
BOREDOM BUSTERS FOR TWEENS AND TEENS
As kids grow up, it gets harder to find things that they can occupy themselves with other than a screen.
From what I see around me, even at my own home, 10-year-old or 12-year-old kids have the tendency to grab a screen immediately when they feel bored.
It’s a bit hard to persuade them to engage in creative activities especially if you have kids who don’t love the outdoors much or prefer to sit somewhere idly after a long day at school.
The easiest thing for them to do is to sit with a screen. But as we all know, too much screen time can cause addiction and it snatches away their precious time that can be used for creative pursuits.
And we may be paving the way to raise adults who have too much screen dependency as most people are today.
So, what can a 12-year-old do when bored at home?
Here are some ideas.
Remember, it’s not easy to persuade older kids to do things they don’t feel like as we can do with an elementary-aged child.
So, it’s better to make a boredom buster list for your tweens and teens after consulting with them, so they can pick an activity when they are bored. Or even better, ask them to make it on their own.
Here are some boredom-busting activity ideas for tweens and teens.
- Learn something new like a language or an instrument. Here is a great language-learning website that I personally use for myself and my daughter. I love how the lessons are laid out in an easy bite-sized format and the structure of each lesson with audio, pdfs, etc. Highly recommended!
- Read a book. If your teen loves reading, this hobby can be a great boredom buster and a substitute for screen time. Get them a library membership and let them read to their heart’s content. Or get them a Kindle for buying books at a smaller price than paperback versions. I also love how Kindle helps us to store thousands of books in the device and therefore no clutter in your living space.
- Board games
- Make a comic
- Write a short story
- Bake something- tweenage is a good age to start with baking cookies or brownies if they haven’t yet done it. Help them bake cookies, brownies, and even bread. If they like doing it, everyone at home gets to eat yummy treats once in a while.
- Gardening. If you are into gardening, teach them about the basics of taking care of plants. If they are not into growing ornamental plants, they can try growing vegetable plants or herbs too.
- Do an art project. Make a drawing, color a picture, or do bottle art. Youtube has tons of resources to get started.
- Start a Youtube channel
- Learn about a new topic by reading books on it and watching documentaries and videos.
- Learn crochet or knitting. Tweenage is a good age to start playing with yarns and making pretty stuff.
- Teach them how to take care of pets and let them raise a puppy or a cat (or any animal of their liking). Playing with pets and taking care of them will help them to ease their stress and boredom too.
- Teach them how to fix their meals and let them do meal prepping for school
- Get them adult coloring books. They are great for de-stressing and unwinding after long hours of studying.
- Get outside. Play a sport, ride a bike, play frisbees or just take a walk in nature with your tween.
- Make a bucket list of things they wish to do in life and make a goal list. This will help them to daydream a bit and find ways to turn those dreams into reality. Having a direction to follow early on in life can be a great motivation to get more invested in studies or other hobbies they wanna take more seriously.
- Help them make a vision board for all those goals
- Get them into building things – woodworking or even simple projects to do with clay
- Watch great documentaries on Netflix or Youtube. Here are some recommendations for documentaries to watch with kids from Flixboss and Cafe Mom.
- Learn to code. There are tons of opportunities for kids if they know a coding language.
- Learn calligraphy, watercolor painting, or acrylic painting. Here are some tutorials to start painting. You can also look up Youtube for tutorials.
- Do workout videos from Youtube. They can choose between yoga, pilates, dance workouts, etc.
- Declutter their room and get rid of the toys or other things they don’t use anymore. And also donate the old clothes that don’t fit them anymore.
- Redecorate living space. My daughter loves playing interior decoration games online. So letting them experience the thrill of it in real life is also a good idea. They can buy cheap lights and some interior decorative stuff online and try redecorating their space for a change.
- Side hustles. There are tons of opportunities for teens to earn some pocket money today. Like babysitting, dog walking, simple online jobs, lawn care, content creation or assistance, etc.
- Sew a pillowcase
- Help with meal prepping and planning
- Help with ordering groceries online
- Paint someone’s nails
- Learn your favorite song on an instrument
- Learn about your favorite country’s history, food, and culture
- Memorize country names and capitals
- Wash the car – cleaning is therapeutic
- Make jewelry for themselves or gift it to people.
- Offer to help someone. Help a neighbor or family member with a chore.
- Host a family game night. Let them plan everything from scratch including food, decor, etc.
- Visit a museum, or art gallery and learn about the history and culture.
- Make your favorite candy from scratch using healthy ingredients
- Take lessons on a new sport
- Create a savings goal and make a plan on how to earn money and how much to save each month
- Conduct scientific experiments
- Make and fly a kite
- Design a card for a friend or family member for their upcoming birthday
- Try rock painting
- Do a 7-day Random Acts of Kindness challenge.
- Do a photoshoot in your garden and learn to take pictures of objects or self-portraits
- Make friendship bracelets
- Learn origami
- Make bookmarks and gift to friends
- Try DIY soaps, lotions, and creams. Or what about bath bombs?
- Join an online program to improve a desired skill
- Conduct a tea party for your friends by making snacks, baking cookies, adding some crackers, and decorating the table.
- Make sure your kids are exposed to different activities from a young age- including fun, recreational, athletic, and learning-oriented activities. This will help them to grow their interests in different areas and learn more about their interests.
- Make sure to impose a limit on daily screen time. The addiction itself can cause them to lose interest in other activities and start becoming restless at the slightest hint of boredom. For eg: During car rides, when waiting for food at a restaurant, when standing in queues, etc. Let them get used to sitting with boredom, which is only good for us.
- Try to engage in activities with them or be a present parent when they are around. If you are used to scrolling on your phone all the time, they learn to depend on screens automatically too. Kids crying out of boredom is not always because they are bored. They might just be seeking some connection with you and wants your attention.
More articles to read:
- How to connect with kids using their love language (5 love languages explained)
- How to teach your kids about body safety (5 body safety rules explained)
- Top 10 tips to teach your child to be kind and value others
- 25 basic good manners to teach your kids
- 11 benefits of positive parenting for parents and children
- 9 best ways to deal with defiance in children
- How to discipline a child who talks back
- What is positive or negative reinforcement and positive or negative punishment (explained with examples)
- How to motivate a child who refuses to do homework (7 tips that work!)
- List of age appropriate chores for kids (from toddlers to teenagers)
- 18 signs of bad parenting (and the bad effects) you’d wish you had known sooner