At our house this Summer, the following 2 rules apply:
Rule #1... If you say you are bored, you get an extra chore.
Rule #2... If you THINK you are bored, check Rule #1.
Hahahaha! So awesome!
I've never been one to entertain my kids all day and have rather spent my years teaching them to be self-motivated, helpful and productive. The most successful tools for this endeavor have been my "Subway Art To Do Chart" and more recently, my "Subway Art Responsibility Chart" (both found in my Etsy Shop HERE). We use these everyday and they not only help manage chores and behavior, but it also helps them manage their time by staying busy with a variety of activities that are tied to their weekly allowance. However, even the best chart or system (or rules) don't completely cure Summer Boredom-itis. I know there are dozens of "boredom buster" printables out there, each with a long list of activities - but they are just too unpredictable for me. What if they pick "go to the park" on a chemo day? Or, what if they pick a messy/crafty activity on a day I can't handle a mess? Plus, what is a good boredom buster for one child, may not be for another AND what might be a good boredom buster for them, might be inconvenient for me. I know that might sound selfish, but for me - I'm dealing with a sick husband in my home and although my kids and their needs are super important too - they can't rule the roost and we have to roll with things differently than a family that can be more spontaneous.
So - I gave them empty Crystal Light containers, Sharpies, a pile of Popsicle sticks and asked them to each make their own boredom buster sticks. Because our Summer is unique (and insanely busy) with my husband's cancer - I asked them to think of things for their sticks that they could do both with each other and things they enjoy doing alone. I told them to write down their favorite games to play, favorite things to make, fun things to do - and most of them needed to be something that didn't require my help. When I am caring for a cancer patient (and dealing with scheduling, bills, insurance, research, etc), I can't drop what I'm doing to play Monopoly for an hour - or run to a craft store to buy supplies, or take them to the park. We do that kind of stuff on my schedule - and when THEY are responsible for keeping themselves busy, they can use their sticks for ideas. Of course, making the sticks and decorating their containers took two hours, which was a nice boredom buster in and of itself! Total bonus.
So - we primarily use our Responsibility Boards, but when they can't think of "Something Awesome" or "Something Quiet" or "Something Fun" - they can refer to their sticks. If you want to read more about how we use our Responsibility Boards, you can read THIS POST. It's a pretty great system and the one we've stuck with the longest. You should give it a try, seriously!
Now back to the free printable that sparked this post...
Here's hoping for a busy, happy and bored-free Summer!
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