I want to let you in on a little secret that I don't think my kids know: I think it's good for them to be bored. When they come to me with wails of "I'm bored! I have nothing to do!" I don't panic, I secretly rejoice. And then I offer to find them something to do, which of course they decline because they know it will involve work on their part.
The thing is, I think it is in boredom that creativity is birthed. Boredom necessitates growth. It drives kids to think and do new things. Dissatisfaction dissolves as simple joys are rediscovered.
If we fill boredom with constant outings and mom-directed activities and that brain drain called TV, it never achieves its purpose of creative discovery. But if we let it fester for a few minutes, or even a few days, it's amazing what happens. New games are created.
Old toys are rediscovered.
Siblings become friends.
Culinary masterpieces emerge from the kitchen.
Stories are imagined.
Scientific experiments are unveiled.
Tadpoles are captured and observed.
So as you start this summer, go ahead and make your bucket list. Hit the waterparks and museums and mini golf courses. Take advantage of the wonderful treasure that is summer with kids. But on your days home, don't be afraid of a little boredom. Don't view it as a problem to be fixed or feel guilty if you haven't kept your kids happy and busy every single second. Don't pressure yourself to maximize every opportunity for activity or feel like a failure if days go by in which you accomplish nothing. Embrace the boredom, let it simmer for a little while, and then see what wonderful discoveries your kids make. And if you can find time for a little of your own boredom, that's even better!