School’s been out for fifteen minutes . . .

The bus is just pulling out of your neighborhood . . .

And our signature on that last report card hasn’t even dried yet . . .

When from the bowels of their gadget/toy/book-infested bedroom, you hear the dreaded words:

“I’M BORED!”

It never fails, right? Summer shows up, and with it, our kids’ ability to be entertained for longer than five minutes at a time. They haven’t had this much trouble self-soothing since they were in diapers!

In our minds, summer is an ethereal time—sand, sun, pools, breezes—filled with memories of late nights, lightning bugs, and laughter. When in reality, summer can feel like a circus act – with you, on a unicycle, balancing your own responsibilities on your forehead while simultaneously juggling your kids’ wants and needs like balls of fire.

Can I tell you a secret? (I wish it weren’t such a secret secret. I wish someone had told me this years ago.) Here it is . . . it is not your job to save your kid from boredom. It’s not! It’s also not your job to entertain your kid It’s also not your job to make your kid happy. (But those are blog posts for another day!) It is your job to love your kid.

And sometimes, love means saying no. Love means prompting kids to use their creativity. Sometimes, love means taking away technology and kicking kids outside. Sometimes, love means simply saying no.

And sometimes, love looks like this . . .

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: “If you wait until [YOUR NEXT FREE TIME] o’clock, I’ll hang out with you. Until then, you need to figure out something to do on your own.”

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: “Have you checked the chore chart? Here are 3 things you can do to help our family.” (PS – Even toddlers can – and in my opinion, should – do chores!)

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: “Go outside for the next hour. Exercise, count the cars that drive by, find shapes in the clouds, take a walk, sit on the porch.”

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: “Have you read a book lately? Go read (or look at pictures) for the next 30 minutes. Then I want to hear what you read/saw.”

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: “Go and do 3 kind and/or generous things for other people. Then, come back and tell me what you did and how it went.”

Or, how about this?

KID: “I’M BORED!”
PARENT: [Silence.] *Shrugs* “That sounds like your problem.” *Goes back to doing item #4 of items #1 – #483984 on the to-do list*

What about your family? How to wage war against the battle with boredom?