Our command to turn off electronics and ‘find something else to do’ results in a child or three wandering into the kitchen with a fussy face and a more-syllables-than-necessary version of the statement, “I’m bored.”
The southern twang really comes out.
My wife and I are in there cooking or catching up on the day, but now we’re being asked to be the cruise directors for the S.S. Cohrs.
While I think it’s important for us as parents to create the habit of fun in our families, I think it’s equally important that we allow our children to squirm long enough without a screen until they figure out how to create fun for themselves.
A habit that I believe is paramount in a world where folks just can’t turn the buzzing of info off is the habit of being able to explore and entertain ourselves without someone else doing all the heavy lifting.
This might require that our kids sit in a place that is quiet and alone long enough for the pistons of their own interests and creativity to start firing. It’ll take at least 7 minutes. Be patient.
Frankly, and for fear of repeating a theme that I feel like I’m beating with a big stick, you and I need to do the same thing.
What would you and I do this evening if we had 2 hours, no TVs, no smart phones, and we weren’t tired enough to take a nap? Chores also aren’t an option. Would we know what to do with ourselves? Do we have a hobby that we’ve let slide? A passion we need to dust off?
The biggest first step is pushing through the whining and complaining – both ours and theirs – and create the margin in their schedules (and ours).
We don’t need a cruise director to spoon feed us entertainment and fun. We need to create it ourselves and help train our kids to do the same.
Something tells me that simple, old school life skills that didn’t used to be considered skills, will create unicorns in the near future. Kids that become adults who can think independently, work with focus, and be in relationships that are healthy.
That might be a long stretch from the basic idea of telling your kids to go figure out something to do, but it might not be.
It’s part of helping them become comfortable in their own skin and create and solve problems. I really think it’s potentially a very powerful thing.
Thoughts? Drop a comment below….