As the second half of summer break wanes on, the words “Hey mom, I’m bored” become all the more prevalent. The timing is less than ideal for the many of us working to come up with creative ideas and day trips to keep the kids active and engaged the first half of the summer, because, quite frankly, it’s exhausting for a parent after so long. But there it is again “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.” This is exactly when I say (and I get the feeling I’m not alone in this one) “Do you want to watch a movie?”, that is if they haven’t already picked up their device of choice and started gaming. At this point, I admit that I am tired of trying to keep them happily occupied and a screen or sorts just seems like the easiest option.
Perhaps, you started the summer with a different approach. Maybe the kids started with nothing but downtime, tv and devices because it was “okay” early in the summer to just take a break and relax (I’ve been guilty of this tactic, as well). But now it’s mid-summer and here it comes…”I’m bored!” Now what?
Either way it goes, I think we all agree that unplugging the kids (and adults, but that may be a future post) is vitally important. Even if it’s just one day of going technology free. But to do this successfully, you have to be armed with an arsenal of ideas. There may be times you want to participate right along side them and there may be times where…you don’t (or can’t)…just being honest here. I believe there are two important components to making this digital detox happen, no matter how long or short it may be. One, you must be motivated to enforce the digital detox so I will share some statistics that might just do the trick. Two, you need to have plenty of alternative ideas ready! I’ve yet to hear the kids say “Yes, let’s do that!” to the first suggestion I make. And better than me coming up with all the ideas is for them to figure it out on their own. Hence the creation of the “Boredom Buster Jar”, best created during one of their “I’m bored” moments. Now when boredom strikes or it’s time to unplug, the kids can pay a visit to the “Boredom Buster Jar” and problem solved!
So, why is unplugging the kids important? Well, the average child between the ages of 8 – 18 spends 7.5 hours daily in front of a screen. WOW!
What are the effects of too much screen time?
- Obesity – BMI is linked to screen time. Excessive sitting (and junk food commercials) leads to significant increases in calorie and fat intake.
- Irregular sleep – Screen time can impair sleep patterns and cause fatigue, which may cause unhealthy cravings and unnecessary snacking.
- Poor school/homework performance – More than two hours of screen time per day can affect homework, grades and attitudes about school.
- Behavioral problems – Emotional , social and attention problems can occur.
- Nature Deficit Disorder-There are a myriad of benefits to getting your kids out in nature that they are otherwise deprived of when they never get out from behind a screen.
Now, let’s move on to the Boredom Busters that will help everyone in the house survive their digital detox:
- Play Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light
- Play a card game
- Read a book
- Make an obstacle course
- Build a fort with sheets and cushions/chairs
- Do a puzzle
- Play I Spy
- Have a dance party
- Make a band
- Play Would You Rather?
- Bake something
- Go on a bug hunt
- Create a play
- Make an art gallery
- Try a chore you’ve never done before
- Write a letter to an extended family member or friend
- Play Hide N Seek
- Take a bath
- Play store
- Make a dream board
- Play restaurant
- Make tickets, fake money and concession sign for your next family movie night
- Have a tea party
- Brush the family pet
- Make a puppet show with stuffed animals
- Water the plants or tend to the garden
- Do a fashion show or photo shoot
- Paint your nails
- Play board games outside
- Have a picnic
- Play charades
- Build a house of cards
- Make grass whistle
- Design a treasure hunt
- Play with “oobleck” (cornstarch and water)
- Write and illustrate a book
- Play in the sprinklers or hose
- Have a water gun battle
- Make a car wash for the big wheels
- Ride a bike
- Make Birthday cards for upcoming Birthdays
- Jump Rope Outside
We would love to hear about the boredom busters that work in your family!