Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

Welcome to Works for Me Wednesday and the "Mom, I'm Bored" edition. The first Wednesday of every month WFMW has a theme, and this month the theme is "how to get through the summer with both your kids and your sanity in tact."

As summer vacation fast approaches, staving off bored children is on the forefront of my mind. Bored children means whiny children, and a rewired house with disassembled telephones. Not a fun time.

Keeping children busy takes a multi-faceted approach. Yes, much like a battle plan ... except I'm Mennonite and we are pacifists so we will stick to the "multi-faceted approach" statement. It involves some prior planning, quick thinking, lots and lots of lists, a few craft books, and a healthy dash of independent play (which may or may not include me hiding in the closet so they can't find me.)

First: Most of their toys, games and craft supplies are within their reach and fairly well organized. The kids know what is where; though sometimes they need some reminders that we actually have toys. ***If you have young children I fully understand that you can't have everything within their reach. Trust me, it will get better, and you will be able to keep (most) everything at munchkin level. Someday you will discover that they can not only reach all toys but also play with them (for at least 15 minutes) without needing your intervention.

Second: Provide tools to spark their interests. My kids are crafty, some like to draw and color, another likes to build and bubble things. I keep a stack of books, which cover all their interests, for them to consult and inspire. My oldest is even at a stage where I can (hesitantly) allow him to create his own messes. I just need to be close at hand, never knowing when the ADHD will grab hold of his mind.

Third: (Don't laugh) We have a schedule. Whether it is daily, or hourly, we have a plan. "If it's Tuesday then we must be going to the children's museum." The day is loosely planned for several reasons, and yes because I'm neurotic that way is one of them. However, letting the kids know that TV/computer/video game time will come (eventually) stops the continual back and forth when they keep asking over, and over, and over. It also ensures that our summer day includes some book time and summer learning time (because I'm mean that way.)

Fourth: I have a practiced response to the "Mom, I'm bored" whine. "Then go clean the bathroom/sweep the floor/clean the windows/enter in own cleaning chore." 8 times out of 10, when they whine about being bored, they are actually saying they want to watch TV, or play on the computer, or their L-Max. Since it is already scheduled into the day (depending on behavior), I can tell them when they can enjoy those activities.

Trust me, these aren't full proof, but they keep us (mostly) sane during the summer.

By about August, however, we are all done with summer. Most camps and other activities are finished. The days become very hot and humid very quickly, and we don't have any shade trees in our yard, so no one wants to go out and play. If anyone has any tips on keeping our spirits up during this (what seems like) long and steamy month please leave your suggestion(s).

For more summer boredom busters head over to Kristen's at We are That Family.


Eos Mom said...

You sound well-organized and well-prepared! Thanks for the ideas!

Michelle@Gotchababy said...

you sound ready to rock and roll this summer! As for hot and steamy August...libraries are cool, my kids will play for hours at a restaurant playland, at home that may be they time to make cold treats and scavenger hunts. Such fun!