Today I woke up to a miserable, grey day with no plans and no intentions to leave the house at all. This of course an absolute bombshell drop on my children!
With their eyes out on stalks they looked at me in sheer disbelief and repeatedly chanted, “what we’re doing nothing at all”.
I take full responsibility for this as I feel the need to continually occupy the children and fill their days as much as possible. A weekend rarely goes by where I haven’t tried to arrange something exciting and the times there is not much on I always feel the need to get out of the house and do something, no matter how small.
This has certainly had a detrimental effect on us and I feel I have taken away the children’s ability to amuse themselves and be happy in their own home with their own time and space.
I remember as a child making shops with my sister, playing fashion shows and thoroughly enjoying simple things such as colouring or dancing around my room; yes of course I remember those times where I moaned to my parents about being bored but there was never that expectation to be occupied every waking minute, it was down to me to make my own entertainment.
Being bored allows children to explore their own imaginations, to be creative and inventive and to find activities that they have a real passion for.
Society has made us feel that we should be continually stimulate our children, to make their weekends as jam packed as possible and to be enrolling them on every activity possible where their entertainment is already structured for them and limits the chance for them to use their own imaginations.
After the day from hell with the children continually craving my attention, demanding to be amused and begging to be taken out they finally found their own entertainment and settled down to word games and books that they wouldn’t ordinarily pick without being promoted, they made up their own workout routine and the youngest two baked a cake together with little intervention from me.
To them this has obviously become learnt behaviour and so I have come up with a list of things I am going to stick to the fridge to help then get started with enjoying their own free time:
Read a book
Do a puzzle
Play with playdoh
Make a cake
Make a Lego creation
Have a puppet show
Have a teddy bear’s tea party
Jump in puddles
Make an exercise circuit
Make up a dance
Make a show
Practice magic tricks
Climb a tree
Write a story
Build a cardboard car/house
Make paper aeroplanes
I would love to add to this list and know how your little ones spend their free time.