Parents – the holidays are here again and some of your hearts are already beating faster as you begin to dwell on ways to keep your children occupied until resumption time. Here are best ways to tackle boredom during the holidays
No one wants to hear those scary words “I’m bored!” or even worse see the destruction of your living room walls because of boredom.
Sadly, begging the school not to close is simply not an option (although some have tried!). So here are a few handy tips to keep boredom at bay during the holidays.
1. Stay Bored:
This might actually sound crazy but it’s the truth – let them be bored! Please note that we are not saying you should leave your children to their own devices or plonk them in front of a TV/tablet for the whole of the holidays but it is equally important that children learn from an early age that there isn’t always a ready-made external solution to boredom.
Sometimes they just have to figure out a way to entertain themselves. Leading child psychologists recommend that they can use the time to figure out stuff going on in their lives, explore their creativity or set goals for themselves.
Even as adults we find ourselves in extremely boring situations from time to time and we know how to handle it without pestering others to entertain us. It’s a skill for life!
A Harvard study confirms that children who are given chores from an early age grow up to be more independent adults as they are used to taking care of themselves. It’s a no-brainer really!
So, from an early age, encourage simple chores like tidying up after play, making their beds, washing dishes etc. These apart from the obvious advantages are also time and mind consuming so help to keep boredom at bay.
You are not alone in this dilemma – you better believe other parents are pondering this matter too. A tried and tested tip to ease boredom is to set up playdates with your children’s best friends, classmates, neighbour’s kids etc.
You can set it up with other parents and take turns hosting it. That way you can each get a breather; the children have enough fun and boredom is averted. It’s a win-win situation. Your children get to strengthen their social, communication and interactive skills – you get a rest! Perfect!
4. Encouraging Independent Play:
Maria Montessori said “Play is the work of the child” so let them play! Invest in great quality educational toys and learning resources that can encourage independent play. Puzzles are a great example of this.
Solving a puzzle can strengthen your child’s logical thinking, problem solving skills and be a real self-esteem booster when successfully completed.
The best way for a child to learn is through play and so it is up to us parents to provide the tools for effective learning.
If your child has a favourite author or particular interest, buy or borrow that kind of books to encourage or enhance a love of reading.
Reading broadens your child’s mental horizons as well as their vocabulary. The ability to digest written text is not only a lifelong skill and if nurtured correctly can be a lifelong pleasure.
Sometimes boredom is just unreleased pent up energy in your child. You can help them burn up this kind of energy by getting them to indulge in outdoor activities.
Take them for walks, teach them to ride their bicycles (safely), bounce on hoppers, jump on trampolines, run around etc.
Research shows that exercise releases endorphins (natural chemicals) into the body that makes your child feel happy, relaxed and even sleep better!
7. Holiday Clubs/Camps:
Take advantage of the wide variety of clubs and holiday camps to either introduce your child to new skills or strengthen their love for an already established hobby.
Nowadays there are camps for virtually every type of activity under the sun – ballet, coding, baking, cookery, soccer, religious etc.
It is a great way for your child to develop new skills as well as learn to mix with new people too. You never know – you just might have Nigeria’s next chess grandmaster or Olympic champion in your home.
If you can spare the time, you can arrange some fun outings during the holidays. They don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. It can be a visit to the mall or a museum or even just to have a cuddle with grandma.
Sometimes it is more about the actual journey than the destination. Take them to visit the underprivileged – orphanages etc Help them learn that it is not always all about them.
9. Take Them to Work Day:
Technically this falls under outings but this type deserves a special category of its own.
This of course should only be done in a conducive environment. So, if your work place is too hectic or your boss has an allocated bed space at the nearby psychiatric hospital, please do not expose your children to any negativity.
Otherwise it is a great way for your child to begin to understand the adult world; how daddy and mummy work hard to provide for them; workplace or business etiquette and so many other life lessons.
10. Screen time:
It is totally unrealistic in today’s world to say don’t let your children watch TV or play with tablets but it is important to apply moderation in all things.
Allot specific times to usage and enforce it. Make it an interactive experience particularly with younger children.
Ask them questions about what they are watching – don’t let it be one long mindless brain numbing experience. Keep it short and keep it lively!
Above all just hang out with your child. Cook together. Play board games together. Gist with each other. Take pictures together. The early years go by so quickly and you will learn to treasure these moments.
Good luck and we who are about to experience the holidays salute you!
Mudi Nwachukwu is the founder of Rhimamory Resources – an online toy store.
Her passion is to empower parents to help their children learn through play and smash their goals. She works with parents, schools, healthcare professionals, centres etc – providing materials and advisory services.
She’s a mother, wife and lawyer.
Email: [email protected]