Monday, November 21, 2005

"Mom, Dad, I'm BORED!"

Well, the school holidays are here. This is the time when kids enjoy the luxury of sleeping in and no homework. However, for many it is also a time to complain to mom and dad that "I'M BORED".
Actually with Karina and Damus being so young, it doesn't really matter if it's the school holidays or not. They are at a point in their lives where FREE TIME is experienced in abundance. I hear "Mom, I'm bored!" almost everyday. I know there are many parents who over-schedule their children with tons of extra-curicular activities. However, I'm not into that practice. First of all, I don't have that kind of money to spend. Second, I believe children need their free time. Hey, isn't that the joy of being a kid? Don't you sometimes wish you could go back to your care-free days too?
Anyway, I must also admit my children usually get into mischief and do all the annoying things when their free time is overly UNstructured. So, what I'm saying is, even though children need their free time, they also need occasional guidance and ideas on what to do.
I know many parents are in the same boat as I, so I thought I'd share some of the things I've done, are doing, and wish to do. (Just for your information, my kids are 2 and 4, so the list below caters more for that age group.)

Boredom Busters:
1. Water play (especially on very hot days). Either put out a kiddy pool or just fill up a pail of water and give them lots of cups and containers.
2. Blowing bubbles.
3. Painting.
4. Disco time. Just put on some dance music and let them "Shake Their Booty."
5. TV time. Although a great "quiet time" option, but must be monitored and have limits to viewing hours. I usually limit to 2 CDs a day.
6. Computer time. Refer to my previous posting titled "Am I Too Young To Be A Geek Mommy?" and my article published at the Parent Weblog.
7. Trip to the park. Swings, slides, and running free are good ways for them to expand their neverending energy.
8. No park nearby? A walk round the neighbourhood is a good alternative. Sometimes I make it a little more interesting by having them collect things along the way (e.g. leaves, flowers etc...) and have them make a "nature collage" when they get back.
9. Reading and story time.
10. Play ball. Kids just love throwing, kicking, bouncing or rolling a ball. It's good for their coordination too.
11. Teach them a sport. This is more for older kids (aged 4 and above). Planning to get Karina started on golf. Introduced a little badminton to them too. Thinking of getting them into some sort of Martial Arts later on as my kids seem to be the aggresive kind. Better to teach them how to be properly aggresive:)
12. Eat stick ice creams, and then use the sticks to make stick puppets. You can have "family puppets" where you mount photos of yourself, the children, grandparents etc.... You could also have "animal puppets" to liven up your rendition of "Old McDonald Had a Farm."
13. Creative hour. Sing nursery rhymes and have them put in their own words. For example, my kids had dinosaurs, lions, and monsters on Old McDonald's farm. Make up stories that begin with "If I ...." You could use the following examples:
  • If I had a pet dinosaur...
  • If I could fly...
  • If I lived in the jungle...
  • If I was a princess...

If they can't write yet, write the story down for them and have them do the illustrations. Sometimes, it doesn't need to be so structured. My kids are just as happy scribbling, coloring, cutting and pasting just for fun. All they need is the materials and they create they own fun. BUT it must be very clear that cleaning up is also their responsibility.
14. Pretend play. Kids don't need adults on this one. Just let them be and they will come up with their own stuff. You just need to supply them with "stuff" e.g. boxes, cups, bottles, toys, etc....
15. Teach them to use the digicam and see what fun and weird photos they come up with.

16. Let them spend a few days with the grandparents. I know this may not be an option for everybody. If it is, DO IT.

School holidays is also a time when you see the mushrooming of "special" programs by the commercial sector. Here are a few for your consideration. Warning... they usually cost money, are mostly for older kids (age 7 and above) and are catered towards those in the Klang Valley.

Well, these are just my limited suggestions. Anybody please feel free to add to the list and help other parents survive the "Mom, Dad, I'm BORED!" dilemma.

6 comments:

  1. yeah, i agree with u. some parents even schedule tuitions, extra class and other curicular activities during the holidays.

    i constantly remind myself that i should not be like that. i even plan to make myself available to teach and help them with their homework, instead of sending them off for tuition after school. otherwise, they will just hate school life and spending their time looking at books.

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  2. My son is two, and we only enroll him in one activity at a time. But we are lucky, because he also is extremely good at entertaining himself. He has no concept of the word bored yet.

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  3. Gosh, you're like wondermummy.

    How do you manage to fit in all the boring stuff like housework, laundry, supermarket shopping...?

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  4. Hi Geetha,
    Glad to know we are on the same track. Unfortunately for me, I foresee having problems teaching my little girl. I thought only teenagers think their mothers are dumb. My girl seems to have some teenage symptoms already. Heheheh. Anyway, I commend you for your efforts. Please feel free to share what you do.

    Hi Rachel,
    It's good your son can entertain himself. Actually, my 2 yr. old also quite good at that. But don't get too comfortable, they will get there one day. My daughter is proof of that. Hehehe.

    Hi Yummy London Mummy,
    How do I fit in all the boring stuff? It's called having a super father-in-law to help. Hahaha. I'm very lucky to have him around to help. He mops my floors, cooks our meals and help with the laundry. Yes, I count my blessings everyday.

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  5. Ooops, that gonna be tough.. if she is already acting like a teenager ;)

    Since my boys are young (1+ and 7 months), I only have to keep them entertained. Play, talk, read, monkey around with them.. whatever it takes to keep them responding.

    I include my elder boy in my weekend plant watering sessions, which he enjoys... He has learnt words with regards to plants and handles them carefully (unlike some kids I know who pulls the leaves off). Once, he even pointed at the hose and told me to water the plants... and said 'ter'.. It was soo sweet.

    When I have the energy, I play football with him in the porch... my, my, my, he loves all the running and kicking.

    Ur ideas have increased my choice of activity with my sons.. although some has age limits... but whichever I can include them, they are there.

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  6. Hi Geetha,
    You sound like a wonderful mom. Your boys are very lucky to have a mom who is around to play with them. Keep it up.

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