I thought I’d take a break from writing about Challenge 365 to share with you what is probably the best parenting idea I’ve ever had.
I’ve been a parent for 17 years and I have done a lot of good things. Mostly because I copied a lot of smart and clever people. But once…ONCE…I had a really great idea of my own that I encourage others to copy…
If you are a parent, you know that about 2 days into summer vacation your child will say, “I’m bored.” And you will be incredulous because you know how lucky that kid is to not have anywhere to go or anything to do or projects or appointments or housework hanging over their head. You will see that it is a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and you will start to say things like, “How can you bored?!?! It is a beautiful day! Go ride your bike, get out the sidewalk chalk, go see if your friend is home.”
And thus the summer cycle begins. Every time your child is still, they will say they are bored and expect you to come up with a list of ideas for things they could be doing. Am I right? You know I’m right. You’ve done this before. I’ve done this before! But there is a way to break this cycle before it even starts! It’s true. I tried it and it works! A few weeks before school is out (now is fine!), you have your child sit down and make a list of everything they like to do. You know your child better than I do, so I will leave it to you whether a) it is a good idea to tell them why they are doing this and b) whether you need to trick them into doing this with something like reverse psychology…”Hey- I’ll bet you can’t come up with a list of 20 things you like to do!”
I did this when my son was in Kindergarten. I did not tell him why until he was done. I just had him write things he liked to do outside, things he liked to inside, things he liked to do in his room. It took a few days and he kept adding to it. When he said he’d written everything he could think of that he enjoyed doing, I said, “Good! Now I’m going to put this list on the refrigerator. Anytime you tell me that you are bored, I’m going to tell you to look at this list.”
And it worked!
The cycle was broken! He’d say, “I’m bored!” I’d say, “Look at your list!” That was it! Never once did I have to think up another activity or threaten, “If you’re bored I can give you something to do… go clean your room!”
You can thank me in September! In the meantime, please share this info with other parents by sending them over here to my blog. Thanks!