We are in the first week of summer. The kids have been with their mom for 1 week and still somehow I’ve managed to already hear the words “I’m so bored” before school was even over. I'm sure I haven't heard these words since last summer!
When my stepson opened his mouth and the sentence “I’m so bored” came flowing out I was caught by surprise. This was the second time within a few days, so I shouldn’t have been that surprised. He said this after sitting on the dog bed for 10 looooonnnng boring minutes. (I’ve given up on reminding him about all the dog hair, gross)
EXCUSE ME, DUDE?! As I tried to keep from losing my cool. Breathe, count to 10 and stay calm.
I managed to stay calm. - Insert mental high five - (Is this even still cool?!)
All the while recounting everything we have been doing in the last 4 weeks.
June was filled with family get-togethers, barbecues, birthday parties, trips to the beach, community events, sleepovers and it was marked as the final weeks at school. The kids had basically been counting down since May (or September if you ask my husband). I can still hear a little kid’s voice in the back of the car “36 more days until summer!”. Sweeeeeet.
A kids dream, right?!
Let’s not forget about all the events teachers organize. The last week of school is filled with so many amazing field trips. Again, a kid’s dream, right?!
Everything seems to be planned out for kids these days. Deep down I wish my stepkids could experience growing up when I was a child. The familiar ring of the doorbell while your friend waits impatiently for you to join all the other neighborhood kids to play hide and seek seems to be a thing of the past. Now kid’s days are filled with after school activities and planned play dates. Rarely do I experience those last minute plans, heck I probably don't even remember the sound of our doorbell.
So why is he bored? I asked myself before responding to my stepson who was still sitting on the dog bed. The last 4 weeks were pretty fun if I do say so myself, and I’m stoked to finally have a home day with everyone.
The look on my face must have been of total disbelief as he stared back with complete confusion.
Still, I felt guilty. Should I do more, plan more, go out with them more? These thoughts were all racing through my mind, surely fed through the ‘you owe me’ mentality of our society.
When I opened my mouth I wasn’t sure what I was going to say other than “why are you bored? We’ve been up to a lot in the last few weeks”. He gave be a blank stare and then said: “Well, there’s just nothing to do right now”.
Well. GO. FIND. SOMETHING. TO. DO.
It’s not always up to the (step)parents to give their (step)kids ideas for things to do. And it’s OKAY to say “go find something to do”. Kids will figure it out.
Children have creative minds, their hands do not need to be held 24/7 or their days completely planned out.
It’s also OKAY to not feel guilty. Because you know what kids?
You are going to be bored. Summer is a great time. It’s my favorite season. The weather is amazing, people are out and about, the beaches are great, you might have a summer camp scheduled for the kids or a vacation planned with the family but, the kids will also have days when there are NO plans and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.
Of course, we will plan things to do this summer. We HAVE planned things to do this summer and always have. For the first time in a long time, we're pulling the trailer down the Oregon Coast. And I’m sure, even then, that at some point a kid will say “I’m so bored”. This is okay. I know this is going to happen because it has on previous road trips.
Dinner needs to be cooked and the kids might be bored. They can find something to do, preferably outside. Some days we’ll just stay at the campsite and have a relaxing day there. Children, you might get bored. I guess it’s time to explore and find something to do. Other days you’ll be in a vehicle for 4 hours. Well, enjoy the scenery because there is not much to do as we don't usually have devices kicking around. Just don’t start fighting in the back seat!
Whether you're the mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad or grandparents, keep in mind. Boredom won’t kill your kid and neither should you feel guilty about it. I’ve been witness to my stepkids turning a complete 360 minutes after announcing that they are bored and, more often than not, we’re not included in the activities they have found to do themselves.
It’s not our responsibility to plan every minute of every day for our kids. Let them be bored and sit back as you see their creative little minds at work. Don’t forget, boredom breeds creativity.