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The Big Picture

The Benefits of Boredom

Glad to once again be part of the Hearts at Home Third Thurday Blog Hop, where the theme is summer.  And don't you love summer?  A time for staying up, sleeping in, swimming, cookouts--also the perfect time for regularly inflicting boredom on kids. 
If you ask my seven at home how I do this they would tell you:  No screens of any kind before lunch.  And on Tuesdays and Thursdays no electronic games at all.  Zip.  None.  Nada.  Add a short list of daily chores and thirty minutes of  reading, and there you have it: summer at the Sims' home.
Cory sometimes says it's torture.  But I tell him--summer ain't what it use to be.
When I was a kid I would regularly hop on my bike with my lunch packed and go meet my BFF for a day of exploring.  Be home by dinner was my mother's only rule.
My kids have no such luxury as allowing long, unsupervised hours is simply too risky. Consequently, summer days have to be structured.  So I leave room for plenty of boredom.
Why allow boredom?  Because life is boring sometimes, and kids better be able to handle it.  It doesn't take too long for a mother to figure out that to constantly entertain kids is exhausting and expensive, not to mention unfair to them.
Yes, like you,  I hear, "I'm bored" several times a week.  And I sometimes dig out a neglected book or board game.  It's funny, though, that even when I don't make a suggestion, they always figure it out. Yesterday,  for instance, Emma, 13, read to Dorothy, 8;  Cory, 11, and Silas, 5, made up a Star Wars movie. 
I frequently remind my kids that boredom is a blessing--it leaves you grateful for all the other times when you have something to do.  
As I write this, the Sims family lives in the land of  entertainment:  minutes from the beach and just a few hours from Disney, Universal, Lego Land and even Gator Land. Nothing wrong with these places that provide lots of fun (not to mention thousands of jobs).  I am sure we will visit a theme park or two before we leave this part of the country.  I am, after all, married to Captain Fun.
But life is not Disney World.  Life is life. And Disney World is Disney World.  And you better make sure your kids know the difference.

20 Comments to The Benefits of Boredom:

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Mandy on Thursday, July 19, 2012 4:46 AM
Thanks for hopping with us! I'm finding it funny that all of us moms really think that boredom has some value... I definitely agree! =)
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margie on Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:22 AM
It took me a while--at least two kids-- to figure it out but it is so true.

Angie Ryg on Thursday, July 19, 2012 6:04 AM
I think it takes some training to actually teach them that they can be creative on their own in a world that tells us to entertain them all of the time. Thanks for reminding us that life is not Disney World! I know that and Ahhhh, we are just waiting for the amazing Real Happiest Place in Heaven! Blessings, ~Angie
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margie on Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:21 AM
LOVE that perspective!

Susan Heim on Thursday, July 19, 2012 6:14 AM
I wrote about the value in letting kids be bored, too. That's life, and they need to learn how to entertain themselves! Thanks for the valuable parenting advice!
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margie on Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:17 AM
Thanks for saying so--I just keep imagining trying to entertain baby Hope when I am 70 if I don't let her figure it out while she is growing up!

Vicki on Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:08 AM
You spoke to me again. Luke has been driving me crazy with "I'm bored." He would come in and say, "Can we at least go to Target?" No. It is too darn hot to get out. Today he is at daycamp while I teach. Thank goodness!!! Now ironically enough, my bff and I would explore ;-) but there is no way I would let him explore like we did. But I am lucky enough that even though he pouts if we don't go somewhere, he has an imagination and will play with legos, draw, read or write a story. He actually told me the other day he was tired of watching TV. Has that ever been said by an 11-year old?
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margie on Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:20 AM
Don't you wish our kids could run around in the woods like we did!? I was telling mine about swinging on vines the other day--they had never heard of such a thing. It's just not fair!

Julie on Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:28 AM
As my kids get older, I can see this being how I would handle it. My mom always made sure we were reading SOMETHING! :)
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margie on Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:31 PM
Hope you had the chance to thank her!

Rose on Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:32 PM
This is spot on Margie. My kids don't have the opportunity or liberty to explore as we did when I grew up on the farm (neither do they have the kind of chores we had, but that's another story.) Anyway, we've been reading more and turning off electronics. Marianne is making beautiful 'lovies' for babies on her Nifty Knitter, something she finds entertaining. Laura is writing stories. Kyle, 17, has a summer job, and Stasia, well, she earned her summer school by vacationing during her Global History class during the school year. The best part of all this is I don't have to hear any foolish TV programs aimed at the kids, much less the advertising. What a great vacation that is for me!
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margie on Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:33 PM
Amen on the TV programs. We would all do well to turn it off more frequently. Thanks for reading and leaving comments frequently. Love hearing from you.

Alicia@the Overflow! on Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:49 PM
ahh... we'd get along great! My kids all me the screen nazi! But my limits drive them to marvelously creative endeavors! And books, books, books. So fun to meet you here today. Stopping by from HAH blog hop.
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margie on Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:34 PM
Ha--thanks for stopping by. We are friends already!

Debbie on Friday, July 20, 2012 3:28 AM
Thank you for the reminder Margie. I am a guilty Gran Gran! I am the movie grandmother. But my favorite times are when the girls open up and just talk to me! Love you Baby Sister!
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margie on Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:32 PM
Grandmothers can do that, though, it's kind of their role, I think. Mothers can't. Don 't you agree?

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Reply to comment on Monday, June 09, 2014 2:12 AM
Boredom strikes on me rarely that is why when it comes, I take advantage of it. I watch movies and series and of course read tons of books. I always make my idle times very productive!
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