Are you constantly trying to figure out what to do with your children? Are you searching for good ideas of things to do with them? Do they have too much time on their hands? Is summer dragging on? Are they begging you to take them somewhere or do something with them?
You do not need or have to be a cruise director or a free entertainment committee for your children. One of your parenting hats is not concierge. Your job is not to keep them constantly engaged in activities.
Yes, please plan some fun activities to do with your children. But do not do so all day or every day. Playing is important work for children. They need some down time too. Down time does not need to equal screen time. They need to use their creativity to make their own entertainment. Their imaginations may surprise them.
“I’m bored. I have nothing to do. What can I do?” My children rarely said these words to me because I always had many ideas for them. Most of my ideas for conquering boredom involved doing household chores. Instead, I told them to use their imaginations and find someone (a sibling, a neighbor, or a friend) with whom they could play. I also encouraged lots of outdoor play except in extreme or dangerous weather conditions. Yes, my children got quite dirty most days and often had minor injuries from play. We all survived.
Today’s child generally has a plethora of toys with which to play. Help them have a balance of indoor and outdoor toys. Legos seem to be an inside only toy because of the easily lost tiny pieces, but many other toys are suitable for outside play. I suggest a supply of bikes, roller blades, skate boards, all kinds of balls, golf clubs, cones, bats, a swing set, a tree rope, and even, guns (see My battle Against Guns: https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/my-battle-against-guns/) with which to play.
There was one area in which I failed to follow my own advice. I often (perhaps too often) found myself driving one of more of my children to the home of a friend or a cousin or picking up a playmate for playtime. I may not have planned their specific activities but I was involved in helping them reach their destinations. When they were old enough and the distance could be reached safely, I encouraged bicycling.
Disclaimer: When my grandchildren come to visit me, I do plan many activities just for them. We stay extremely busy for the few days we have together without their parents. I recently had four grandsons with me for four days. We went to a beach, visited a waterfall in which we played, went canoeing, roasted marshmallows, went swimming, played games, watched some movies and played mini-golf. We had a blast without spending much money. But even with them, there was some time that they just entertained themselves. One evening they played a game which they created; beanie baby freeze tag. I really don’t know what the rules were even though I watched them playing.
How does your child keep occupied? Do they play alone or with siblings or neighbors?