It happens more than we care to admit. Sometimes our lives are just not that exciting to our kids and they get bored easily. Or maybe it’s been raining for days on end and the kids are suffering from cabin fever. That’s it, we will just say that is what it is. When my kids announce loudly (it’s always loud and dramatic, isn’t it?) how bored they are, I have an activity jar of things they have to do. It doesn’t matter what they pull, they are committed to doing it. Here are suggestions of things you can put into the jar and save your own sanity in the process.
Chores are the First to Go in the Jar
Yep, I am that mean mom who will throw in chores in the jar. It becomes a bit like Survivor in my household. You see them squeezing their eyes shut as they shakily thrust a couple of fingers in there and grab a slip of paper. Will this be the moment they have to mop the kitchen floor? My rule of thumb on chores is that they are age appropriate (use 2 jars if your kids are more than 3 years apart) and that they are not their regular chores. Regular chores are like maintaining their bedroom and maybe dinner dish duty. Things, like cleaning the garage, cleaning windows, straightening up and sweeping a porch, are the types of things I will put in the jar. Be creative! You don’t want Junior climbing the roof to clean gutters but why not weed the garden?
Education is Next
I love to ensure that my kids are always learning without realizing it. I put in things like “read a book” and “watch this nature DVD”. Other ideas could include googling a specific word, event, or person from history and they have to be able to tell you about it at dinner. Any games that teach English, math, or science should also be included. Kids are smart and teaching them how to research and learn stuff, while making it seem like fun, is a great way to get them out of their boredom.
The next thing I like to include is a bit of fun. Games they can play without me is helpful when I am super busy. Board games, card games, outdoor games, and even scavenger hunts can save the day (it’s helpful to have some printed up and supplies handy for you to hide). Be creative and make up new games!
It’s super important to remember that there will be days when nothing appeases your child. That’s when I introduce naptime or meditation time. When creating your jar, use the balance of things that you think will work best for you. I also create an extra set of slips and swap out the paper once in a while to make things fresh and interesting. Trust me, if they pull the same ones a lot, they will get bored with the activity jar!