“Bored” is not a Bad Word

Ah, the sounds of summer…birds chirping, lawn mowers humming, kids splashing in pools, and…

“Mom, I’m booorrred.”

I’m going to stop right here and say that I’m a proponent of year-round school (as a majority of the teachers gasp and say “no!”). Don’t get me wrong: I love summer and I love my kids. Our family however, functions best…thrives actually…on structure and schedule. My 8-year-old daughter makes some very good points in this response on a class worksheet:

I digress…

I also believe however, that summer should be fairly loose and unscheduled…and then I look at my calendar full of summer camps (insert face palm emoji). That’s my fault. It’s on me. I take full responsibility.

Perhaps I’m thinking about summer all wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the act of boredom begins with me.

Bored is not a bad word.

We are busier than bees in a hive during the school year. I need to take back our summer (with camps sprinkled here and there), but if I do that I also need to be mentally prepared for the “b” word. Not only do I need to be prepared to hear the “b” word, but I also need to have a battle strategy in place. I need to be proactive in this matter. That being said, my immediate reaction to this antagonizing word is to yell back and get angry at the person who let it loose. Sometimes I stick a broom or dust cloth in their hands and bark orders, which escalates the situation…”I’ll give you something to do.” I just read an article however, that made me think differently. Dr. Vanessa Lapointe suggests in this article simply saying, “I love bored.” She then goes on to say, “Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves. It is only when we are surrounded by nothing that something comes alive on the inside.”

Genius.

Too often I take on the role of “Social Chair” in my children’s lives, but I can interfere with their development when I do that. If they’re not doing anything, I see it as a problem and I try to fix it by organizing something. Sometimes when I take a step back, say nothing at all, and let them figure things out, they actually do. I don’t give them enough credit. When I stop talking, organizing, planning, and suggesting, they begin creating, exploring, initiating, and growing.  

Recently, the children in our neighborhood created a “Kids Club,” and I love that this forces them to a) get outside and b) interact with children we live around. They have even created guidelines and positions within the club. One day I spotted my kids carting down drinks and snacks specifically for their club meeting. These are the things summers are made of, folks. Memories are being made.

So when you’re leisurely sipping your coffee and reading the newspaper scrolling through social media this summer and a kid comes up to you and says the “b” word, calmly say, “I love bored.” If that doesn’t work, refer them to the chart below via Pinterest:

Good luck and may the parental force be with you! “Bored” is not a bad word. What is your battle strategy for boredom this summer?

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