When Kids Complain There Is Nothing to Do
It’s impossible to count how many times we hear kids complain that “I’m boooooored!” or “There’s nothing to do!” It becomes even more grating when expressed in a whiny, shrill voice after a day out or offering multiple suggestions. Sometimes it’s beneficial to let your children get bored and figure out how to entertain themselves. It’s a great way for them to explore new interests when they have nothing but time on their hands. However, these ideas may offer some relief the next time you need things to do when there’s nothing to do.
What to Do When There Is Nothing to Do
1. Dive into a Good Story
When I complained of boredom as a child, my mom always told me to pick up a book. As an avid reader, there was a pile of library books permanently fixed on my desk. However, some kids just don’t enjoy reading. If you have a hard time motivating your kids to read, suggest alternatives to novels. Try introducing them to choose-your-own-adventure stories or even comic books. You also have thousands of audiobooks at the touch of your fingers. Free podcasts are a great way to enjoy a book together and pass the time when there is nothing to do.
2. Learn Something New
If your family prefers to be more active, try teaching yourselves something new. There are literally millions of YouTube tutorials out there to teach you anything you want to know. Whether you need a new workout routine, make-up tips, guitar lessons, or language instruction, you can find free videos and apps to guide you.
If you prefer DIY projects, browse Pinterest boards to get new ideas of things to do when there is nothing to do. When you only have a limited amount of time, look for interesting documentaries on streaming sites. Although screen time is a major concern for many parents, you can use technology to connect with your kids. It’s also a great way to show them that educational pursuits can be interesting as well.
3. Puzzles and Games
The classic board games have withstood the test of time for a reason. You don’t need to be a child to enjoy a competitive game of Monopoly or Sorry! Dig out your old favorites and pass them on to the next generation. If you don’t have many board games to choose from, grab a deck of cards, dominoes, or some dice and try some of these fun family games.
Not all puzzles and games need to be a group effort. Jigsaw puzzles are a perfect way to spend a rainy day indoors. You can also challenge yourself with word searches, crosswords, or Sudoku brain teasers. You can find cheap puzzle books in the check-out line or attempt to take on the more advanced ones from the newspaper or magazines.
4. Create Something
For the more artistic types, make something new in your free time. Use your talents and try your hand at a new drawing style or technique. You can always find short tutorials to help you get started. For those of us with less artistic aptitude who still want to make something beautiful, print off an appealing coloring pattern to pass the time.
Creation doesn’t need to be defined with lead and paint either. This could translate into trying out a new recipe, writing a short story, composing a new song, or attempting to use the video-editing software on your computer. No one says you need to publish what you create as long as you enjoy the time spent making it.
5. Be Productive
This suggestion may be the most difficult to begin but will have the most immediate rewards. Make a to-do list of all the things that never seem to get done around the house. Rather than undertaking a massive spring cleaning, pick away at the chore list. Start by sorting through clothes and toys for the donation box or cleaning those neglected places in your home.
If cleaning and organizing are at the bottom of things to do, you can plan the month ahead or squeeze in an extra workout. Scheduling the month is a great way to stay ahead of chaotic schedules, while a nice long walk provides a calm reprieve from it. If you are a working parent or juggling several responsibilities, then it’s important to multitask and manage your time wisely.
Simple Do Nothing
At the end of the day, sometimes it’s best to let your kids be bored. Forcing children to solve their boredom dilemma encourages them to find creative solutions to fill their time. Although you may want to entertain your children and make them happy at every opportunity, consider taking a step back. Allow them access to books and games, but give children the freedom to work things out. Fostering imaginative play and taking responsibility for their time is when you will see your kids really starting to grow.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.