Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photo Journal: What children get up to when we stop entertaining them

We love to keep our children busy.  We fear the dreaded words "I am bored".  Those 3 words are not just a statement - they declare that we have failed them in some way.  That we are not a "good mommy" because we can't keep them busy and entertained.  We feel like it's a personal criticism - like we are somehow personally responsible.


Our children have been led to believe that they need to be entertained, driven around from place to place at every whim.  That home is an unacceptable option.  That there has to be every type of entertainment available to them, even if parents don't have the money.  
It's not our job as parents to entertain them.  It's not our job to ensure that they are fully engaged with one or other activity all day.  
When we spend our time doing that, we rob our children of creative moments.  Of problem solving, and often reading.  It's in those quiet times, when they don't have something to do that they will reach for a book and find another world.  Frustration teaches our toddlers to walk and talk, so why do we feel the need to give our children everything they want, when they want it.  If they get just the slightest bit frustrated, imagine what they will come up with.  Watch out Einstein!

I am not saying that you should not give careful consideration to opportunities for your children to be involved in one or other social event, sporting activity or an occasional bit of screen time.  But they don't need to do that all day, especially not in the holidays, because as holidays go, moms and dads need to rest too.  In fact in our house, if the kids have something outside of the house in the morning, mom has the luxury of not doing anything further for the rest of the day, unless I want to.  Like today they went to a church youth fun hike and this afternoon we are heading to the beach, because I want some sun and tomorrow there will be rain for the next 3 days.  Not because they are demanding it, of course it's a bonus for them because they get to surf while I am at the beach.

Now I know I said that this was going to be a photo journal and so I want to give you an example of what my youngest son got up to, when he was "bored" and had nothing else to do.  It's a small video but this is what he did for almost 2 hours the one afternoon. And he wanted me to watch while he did it.  Benefits - eye hand co-ordination, fresh air, positive affirmation from mom, arm exercises, eye exercises - the list is endless.  And I had nothing to do with it.  Just an old tyre and a stick.  Now he may not be creating energy or light but they all have to start somewhere and the key is taking initiative and creativity!

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