School’s out! School’s out! Hooray! Kids around the country wait with bated breath for the long, sunny days of summer fun. They anticipate the fun, their spirits soar, and when summer finally arrives the devil strikes: “Moooommm, I’m bored!” Or his evil cousin raises his head, “Can we play X-Box now, Mom?”
If you’re like me your gut reaction to these kinds of comments is to pontificate about how kids used to play outside and use their creativity and MAKE their own fun in the sun.
As you might imagine, the kids tune that kind of nonsense right out.
So I try to bite my tongue or respond with some sort of sage quip I’ve read recently from a parenting guru. Either way, I hold my ground and what I’ve discovered over this past decade and a half of parenting is this: boredom is a blessing. Yes, I’m serious. A blessing.
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children who watch a lot of TV read fewer books, have lower grades, and exercise less often than other kids. I assume that the opposite, then, is true, which is fantastic. But this isn’t why I believe boredom is a blessing. Instead, here’s what I’ve realized by simply being in the parenting trenches over the years: When our kids are left to their own devices for a certain amount of time, when they are desperate enough for fun, when they realize, finally, that their Mean-Old-Parents really aren’t going to turn on the TV or hand them the X-Box games, the beautifully creative part of their brain begins to surface. Click, click, click. Suddenly, unbidden, new ideas start to emerge. The siblings that used to bug them? They morph into fellow spies and hide-and-seek partners. They become accomplices in building forts and comrades in Ghost in the Graveyard. They might even play a board game together. Imagine!
We’ve disconnected for the summer—no TV, no computer, no video games—for several years and I’ve seen this effect again and again. It takes our older boys a few days to adjust to life without gadgets and gizmos—the “detox period,” we call it. We endure complaints and comparisons and assure our children that those “other” parents who embrace technology all summer long must love their kids so much more. But after a few days, the kids’ ideas percolate, their complaints disappear, and we’re rewarded with the kind of creativity we hope for all year long.
Are you ready to give it a try? Any tips to share? Leave us a comment & let us know!
Finding ways to get out of the house with your partner
Are you and your partner looking to get out of the house for a change? And I don’t mean just a trip to the store, I mean something special for the two of you. While there are many different things you can do as a couple like go to the movies or out to eat there are also a few other things that you probably never thought about doing before.
If you and your partner want to mix things up when the weather is nice, you could go to the park for a long bike ride or maybe pack up a picnic and leave for the afternoon. Every once in a while you should do something very special with one another.
Are either one of you good cooks or interested in learning in how to improve your cooking skills? Taking a cooking class could be for you. Not only do you get a meal but you get to cook together in a different environment without your kids asking you a thousand questions and asking a 100 times, “is dinner ready yet?!”
Another idea would be taking a day off for yourselves and having a nice relaxing day at the spa together. Spas offer couple massages but if a couple massage isn’t your thing, there are many other treatments offered.
Get you out of your house every once in a while so that you can just spend time with your partner. And let’s be honest everyone needs a day off from their kids once in awhile.
*This post was contributed by Canisius College marketing student Molly Mayhew
What are your children thinking after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting? Conversations Parents Should Have
It’s been almost two months since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy occurred in Newtown, CT. Although media coverage has settled down and the families of the victims have been left to mourn, I wonder about elementary school children all over the country and how they have been affected. I also wonder about the conversations parents should have with their children since this will be an issue for quite some time.
When the shooting was still fresh, I watched as my sister sat my five year old niece down to discuss the tragedy. She said “There are a lot of sad mommies and daddies this Christmas.” My sister was surprised to find out that my niece had already learned about the shooting in school, but was very proud that she wanted to make Christmas cards for the families in Connecticut.
Kids pay attention and know so much that parents are often blindsided when it’s time to deal with tough conversations. In the coming months, gun laws will continue to be on the agenda and school security systems will be adjusted. Children are going to be told of these events in school, which means these are conversations parents should have. The sooner, the better!
If your child comes home sprouting off new information that they have heard in school, use that to start a discussion that will help to guide their thinking. Ask them if they know what to do during an emergency at their school. If they do know, see what they think about their schools emergency plan. Find out what they consider to be an emergency and how they think the situation could be fixed or handled. If they are unsure of what to do in a school emergency, give them some ideas that they can ask their teacher about. The objective is not to make your child afraid, but to allow them to discuss their feelings and clear up any uncertainties. At the end of the day, open communication can help to keep them as safe as possible.
Written by Canisius College Communication Studies student Brandi Banks, Class of 2013