by Deborah Serani, Psy.D., author of Sometimes When I’m Bored
Summer is a time of ease and relaxation for many children. But for some, all the unstructured time, with no school, after-school activities, or friends to fill it, can raise feelings of boredom. Adults can help little ones bust summer boredom by teaching them how boredom is a signal to turn a lackluster situation into something more interesting. Here are five tips that can help.
1. Stick to a Routine
While children and adults alike may love being free of the wake-up times and bedtimes of the school year and may enjoy the relaxed structure of summertime, routine still plays a vital part in keeping boredom at bay. Routines give us a reference point throughout our day and helps children keep time during vacation mode. So, keep a daily routine to meals, chores, and self-care. Build quiet time, creative time, and playtime into this routine to help bust boredom.
2. Explore the Outdoors
Summer is a great time to invite children to play and explore at their own pace. Backyards and green parks are great spaces to encourage children to watch nature. So, collect rocks. Follow an ant trail. Have a color hunt. Play float or sink by filling a bowl of water and asking children to collect items to see if they will, you guessed it, float or sink. Play I Spy with your little one. Draw with chalk, watch the clouds, or play hopscotch.
3. Build Community
Structured lessons or school activities need not be missed by you or your kids. Consider getting your child involved in your local community. Be it through a day camp, a mini-camp, a community recreation program, or a one-and-done fundraiser, involving children on a local level teaches them to be civic minded and engaged in their own neighborhood.
4. Read, Read, Read
Carving out time to read is a great boredom buster—and will ignite a lifelong love of reading. Help children set some reading goals like reading a book a week or reading aloud together. Don’t forget to visit your local library for reading activities and author events.
5. Make Memories
Summer can be a meaningful time to create memories and share experiences with children. A vacation, a short get-away, or structured quality time with loved ones can create lasting memories, strengthen family ties, and reduce boredom. Don’t forget to take photos and invite children to create a scrapbook of these moments to make the experience last even longer.
Deborah Serani, Psy.D., is an award-winning author and psychologist in practice for 30 years. She is also a professor at Adelphi University, and her writing on the subjects of depression and trauma has been published in academic journals. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in Newsday, Psychology Today, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio programs at CBS and NPR, among others. She is also a TEDx speaker and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She lives in New York City.
Deborah is the author of the Sometimes When collection.
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