The beauty in hearing “I’m bored”

Little boy playing with his cars by a tree

Summer is in full swing at our house. Late nights jumping on the trampoline, BBQs at the park, carpools to swim team practice, tubing on the lake, bed times pushed back — all the big and little moments that will forever remind my kids of summer.

Don’t get me wrong, not every summer day in our house is this busy. There are many, if not more, days that have no structure to them and I end up either battling the technology monsters demanding that they let go of my children or trying to call for a cease fire between battling kids.

I’ll admit there are moments where the peace and quiet that technology affords me is a beautiful thing. However I’m worried that it is also sucking the life out of my kids’ imaginations. So this summer, I’m trying to embrace the words “I’m bored” a little more thoughtfully and with a little less action.

Recently my boys were complaining that they had nothing to do. They were relentless in their complaints, but I held tight to not offering anything up. About 45 minutes later, I heard the boys outside in the yard. They had found a remote control toy truck in the attic and had created an obstacle course in the yard using logs, tree branches and pieces of flat wood. They rearranged the course in several different patterns and ended up playing outside until dark.

So the next time you hear your kids complaining, “There’s nothing to do,” try to resist the urge to step in. It may just be exactly what your kids need to jump start some great creative play.

– Andree Palmgren is a parent volunteer with the Beaumont Parenting Program and mom of four kids ages 13, 11, 8 and 4.

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