March Break Madness: How to Beat Boredom

Filed under: Holidays, Amazing Kids, Amazing Parents, Funny Stuff, Cabin Fever

Hey, there. It's March Break. How are you? More importantly, where are you? If you're reading this, my guess is you're still here. Yup, Cabin Fever is still here, too. We're not in Florida, soaking in vitamin D and splashing in the ocean. We're not even at Grandma's farm. We're right where we usually are: at home. Four children and one mama and no school, no nursery school, no babysitters. Can you hear that alarm going off inside my head? Red alert! Flee the ship! Escape hatch! Escape hatch? Where the heck do we keep the escape hatch?

At our most recent family meeting, we discussed March Break: what would everyone like to do? Read books, said the seven-year-old. Play Lego all day, said the eight-year-old. Mommy time! said the four-year-old. The toddler had no discernible opinion, but as secretary, I put him down as: "Hurrah! I will be able to follow around and torment non-stop the big brother and sisters whom I adore!"

Great ideas, said the parents. What's the plan when you get bored?

Bored? The children gazed at us in bafflement, as if the word was brand-new to them. What is this mysterious bored that you speak of?

It's Monday morning, the first day of our much-anticipated March Break. Oh--you meant that bored. The bored where, still wearing pajamas, the children begin rolling aimlessly on the floor while wrestling each other.

When told to stop, the word is drawled out with a tinge of self-pity: But we're BORED!
Isn't it tempting, at this point in the conversation, to threaten: "Do you want me to find something for you to do? Because I'll find something for you to do." Resist the urge. It will only depress you to hear your mother's words coming out your own mouth. The kids aren't listening anyway.

Remember boredom? Speaking from the dark side of adult responsibility, there's something to be said for it. This March Break, I bequeath it to my children. It yours, kids. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I'm only partially kidding. My favourite days in childhood were spent doing not a whole lot -- this was our idea of a vacation. My mom would pack us up and travel to her sister's house, many miles away, where we would stay for a week or two, bringing together seven cousins of similar ages. The moms talked and laughed over endless cups of coffee, pretty much non-stop. And we kids just played and played and played. Into this mix, my aunt cleverly introduced one daily element of surprise, to prevent inertia, and to shake things up.

Every day, she planned one scheduled activity. This could be as simple as driving to the mall to eat pretzels in the food court, or as complicated as heading to the amusement park for a full day of confectionary foods and mini-roller-coaster rides. The rest of the time was spent gossiping (moms) and playing (kids).

My children loved the idea: one activity, something different, every day of our March Break.

So here are the additional activities that we brainstormed at our family meeting, the potential daily shake-ups, the boredom busters, and what we just might do if we can get out of our pajamas: Go to a matinee movie. Invite friends over for supper. Invite friends for a sleepover. Explore the Children's Museum. Ride the bus. Walk to the gelato shop (oh -- and eat some gelato). Wrangle an invitation from the aunt and uncle who live nearby and own a Wii. Play on the computers at the library.

The general rule is: get out of the house for a bit. And then we can come home and be happily bored for the rest of the day, together. No escape hatch needed. Here's hoping.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.