Balancing Work, Kids & Summer ‘BOREDOM’— WHAT?!
Ah Summer time! Lazy, long days of sunshine, leisurely outings, road trips & new adventures…. mixed with balancing summer slide, technology, and the work you have to get done... now with the kids AT HOME. What to do to keep them busy, OFF the technology, learning AND allowing you to get your work done?! These are all very real challenges in our home so, beyond the days of hanging poolside with my phone and computer while they swim the day away, I sought some viable solutions and found great suggestions by Sarah Kimmel of FamilyTechZone.com who offered great ways to manage tech time and the dreaded B word (BOREDOM). Because I’m NOT tech savvy, Sarah Kimmel’s tech suggestions were really enlightening for me! I also loved Sarah’s suggestions on summer BOREDOM— WHAT?! Can’t stand the word in such a beautiful, full and wondrous world, nonetheless my kids say it!
Suggestions to Help Kids Resolve 'Boredom', On Their Own:
- Help your kids WRITE A PLAN that includes all the ways they can resolve boredom on their own. This way they can stay engaged long enough for you to get some daytime work in, as opposed to the power hours in the night and feel a sense of accomplishment!
- Have a real conversation with your kids, don't live in the guilt all us working parents feel of balancing kids and life, instead try to discuss your work with your kids while they are home, seeing you do it. It is healthy for them to see you working to support them, if you are able to, try to message to them that work can be very gratifying when balanced with meeting the needs of your family.
- Create a fun prize spinner (think… Wheel of Fortune) for a fun way to relieve their boredom. Instead of coming to you to entertain them with something, they will use their own creativity to complete the task on the spinner. We suggest things like: go to the park (for older kids), create something with sand (if you have a play zone in your yard) create a craft (making sure to have craft supplies accessible, ready and organized somewhere), build something out of LEGO’s, cook something (again, for older kids), write a short story, create a short film, make a puppet show with sock puppets, create a dance show for your parents, draw or paint, do yoga, and so on— you know what inspires your children. The next time they are bored, they can just spin the wheel! (If making a wheel is a little far fetched for you, try using Popsicle sticks to write the different projects or fun things to do on each one. When the kids get bored, they can draw sticks from jar!)
- Make a deal with your kids: if they allow you a specified time to get your work done every day during the week, make Fridays, FUN DAYS and go out to do something great! Water park, adventure, museum, whatever they love…This gives all of you something to look forward to together!!
Introduce Technology Solutions for kids that Encourage Creativity and Learning:
- Use a Screen Time app to help manage the kids screen time. You can set your preferences and the app will manage the weekday/weekend dynamic on it’s own! You can visit www.screentimelabs.com to sign up and get started with the app for your family. They offer a free version to test premium features for 14 days.
- Start out every day with 30 minutes (or less if you prefer) of free screen time to use however your kids want
- Once your kids have used up their free time, they can start earning more time by doing tasks, and the app will allow them to report to your device that they have completed their tasks. You will get a notification on your device that they have completed their task, and if you approve it, it will grant them more free time (not to worry, your specify this amount of time).
- You can assign chores, tasks, art projects, reading, whatever you want to designate as the assigned task. Sarah makes the tasks non-negotiable for her kids, so she just assigns a “finished checklist” task. By doing this her kids can have a maximum of 30 minutes more free time, and she makes her kid’s tasks assigned on a first come, first served basis— granting whomever does the task first, to get the extra free time!
- OneNote: This is a Microsoft Office application and is great for creating a field journal. Children can explore the plants and animals near their home, or go on a nature walk or nearby hike with you, take pictures with a phone or tablet, then load them into their OneNote Notebook. Then kids can look up the plant or animal and write information about what they’ve learned in the notebook. Making sure to include the date, time of day and location they spotted it!
- At AddyPres, we prefer art and drawing to be done with standard, non-technological mediums but realize that the world is progressive... so we felt Sarah’s SketchBook Pro suggestion offers a great alternative to expose kids to drawing with technology. Sketchbook Pro gives kids access to many colors and textures, that they might not be able to find or create in real life.
- StikBots are a really creative way for kids to explore movie making and stop motion videos. Check out YouTube for some creative shorts kids have made using these fun, easy to position figures. Kids can also use any toys they already have to create these little stop motion videos and there are a ton of great video creation apps available to download.
- A good old Camera is great for kids to go on a photo scavenger hunt! Start them off with a list of things to find, and let them snap pictures of everything on the list (and all the interesting other things they see while searching)! You just might find a hidden talent!
We hope these suggestions bring your home back to CENTER! Happy Summer!