Before you haul out the standard answers...
Just a thought:
Roo sat down by me the Thursday and said, “Mom I’m bored.”
Now conventional wisdom says, “You’re bored? You. Are. BORED?? Have I got chores for you, buddy.”
But Roo is a good kid and this was only the fourth day of a vacation. This is part of the reason we school year round with smaller breaks (living well with a routine—more on that in another post).
I had to stop and think about what he was really saying. He had toys and games. I was not limiting video games this week. He really. Didn’t. Want. To play. The X-box. He had read several books!! He had played the piano.
What was not being said? What was he asking without knowing?
My decluttering project is taking the slow track this week, I’ll admit. I’ve been busy, but not that busy. And I was actually taking a moment to goof off when he said it.
So I offered the suggestion list: Outside? Computer? Television? LEGOs? No, no, no, no. Thank you.
Ummmm…would you like to play a game of Othello with me?
Now I had his attention. He wanted a few minutes of Mom time.
We actually ended up playing Phase 10 instead. I won. (But who’s gloating?) He tells me I humiliated him. Yeah? Well…I’m an awful mom.
But 30 minutes of one on one with Mom gave him a fresh look. I suggested that he read the rules to two new games we’ve not played yet afterwards so we could play them later. Which he did. He thoroughly enjoys reading directions for games. I am so proud. Because
Shortly after (and totally expected) a curly headed Boo quietly insinuated himself into my lap (I was goofing off again.) “I heard you played a game with Roo.”
“Well, yes, Son I did.”
“Oh.” (Imagine a very neglected tone.)
I asked, “Would you have time to play a game with me?”
So we played a couple games of checkers. And life was good.
Last week, their first week of vacation, I had them come up and offer to help when I was working on a project. I’ve had them seek me out just to chat. I had offers for serenading me with music. I had offers to join them in video pandemonium.
With summer vacation here for most families, and some parents are already yearning for fall, I just want to offer the thought that these moments are fleeting. It is annoying sometimes to hear the words, “I’m bored.” But before dismissing the child uttering those fateful words with chores, ultimatums, or a quick "Go play outside!" double check and make sure the statement doesn’t really translate into,
“Mom, can I spend a little time with you?”
Edited to add: I saw Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer's WFMW is about children being bored, so I am tossing it up on her Mr. Linky. Looks like it is a busy one. Check it out.