Learning to be bored

This Friday school finishes for the summer which means more time at home and more hours to fill.

So what to do with the children during these extra hours?

The temptation is to hide indoors from the sun and let them watch more television. But the little voice inside my head will be whispering ‘Bad mother! Why do you have children if it’s just to sit them in front of the goggle box for hours on end?’

Another option is for them to have a siesta, but my daughters grew out of naps years ago and whenever I’ve tried to re-instigate a little midday lie down it has always been a total disaster. And even if I did get them to sleep for a bit, they’d be up until midnight, which would surely be worse. In an attempt to get them to sleep one day last summer I actually put them into the car and took them for a drive, hoping the movement would rock them to sleep.

Needless to say this did not happen but we did have a very nice excursion visiting a castle in a nearby village.

So, back to my dilemma of entertaining a four and a five-year-old in the midday heat.

Nowadays we feel compelled to fill every minute of our children’s lives with some sort of creative or educational activity often to the point of leaving ourselves exhausted from playing taxi-service.

But what’s so wrong with just being at home and finding themselves something to do?

I grew up in the middle of the country and, with the exception of ballet on a Saturday morning and Brownies on a Monday evening I don’t remember being entertained all the time. My mother was too busy doing the washing, ironing, making the dinner and tidying up after me and my brother to be ferrying us around all the time.

I can remember complaining quite regularly ‘I’m bored!’, and what a pain in the neck it must have been to my mother.

But it didn’t do me or my brother any harm, rather it taught us how to occupy ourselves and I still find it impossible to get bored. My only problem now is not having enough hours in the day to do everything I would like to do.


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