Day 1 of summer break.
My youngest, 11, comes up to me and lays in my lap as I am working. I already know what she is about to say because we have been here so many times before.
“I’m boooooored,” she moans.
“I can’t help you. You have plenty to do.”
She marches off, mad and mumbling to herself.
I remember being that age and home during summer break. I spent my afternoons playing outside or with friends. I never told my mom that I was bored because she would just give me chores to do. I learned that lesson pretty quickly.
My kids have also learned the same lesson.
When my children were younger, I would plan out their summers. Bucket lists of things to do, books to read, splash pads to visit, science experiments. We still do some of those things, of course, but I have learned that planning my kids’ summer actually takes some of the fun out of it for them. And it is just added stress on me.
Boredom encourages creativity. My kids complain about being bored, yet when they entertain themselves, they end up having a great time.
Whether it’s playing in the woods, fishing, riding bikes, making up games outside, or laying in the grass reading, they always find something fun to get into.
They might rediscover old toys or old hobbies they use to love. Being bored is like a blank slate to a kid. There is so much opportunity for fun when you are bored.
Gives Me a Break
If one of my kids comes to me and tells me they are bored, what they won’t see is me jumping up and trying to amuse them. I am not doing that. I am here to keep them safe and healthy, not entertained.
Sure I want them to have fun, but I also have things of my own to do. There are times when I plan things for us all to do because I want them to have a great time together with me. We might go have lunch, go swim, go to the bookstore, or do various other afternoon things.
Right now, we have a giant jigsaw puzzle out that we are working on together.
But on a normal day here at home, if you are bored, please go be bored somewhere else.
Memories Aren’t Curated
Some might have an opinion on this, so please don’t come for me. Summer isn’t always a daily Pinterest event. I don’t want a curated, Instagram summer for my kids, with me freaking out because things don’t look a certain way. I want them to make some of their own memories with each other and themselves. Where is the fun in a scheduled out, super detailed time off?
There is absolutely zero judgment from me if this is your summer vacation. If your kids love it, go for it.
I want to give my kids a break from a strict routine and me a break from dragging them all over the place. We go on pretty cool vacations and we do a lot together, but usually, it’s a fend for yourself type of situation.
Our summer aesthetic is going to be fun, yet unplanned. It won’t need a filter or me planning a scavenger hunt (although, a scavenger hunt does sound kind of fun) or planning weeks worth of activities.
It will be relaxing, slow when possible, and full of boredom.