Monday, August 2, 2010

Harnessing Boredom in Your Kids

When I was reading the book, "One Million Arrows" by Julia Ferwerda, I was stopped short when I came to this phrase, "Let your kids learn to have fun at being productive, and then purge the things in the home that function as 'mental junkfood'-things that satisfy their boredom without delivering any benefit."

Author Greg Harris is quoted to say, "I've often said if you just harness boredom, it can pull your kids into a lot of exciting things as long as they don't have a lot of mental junk food around. Time wasters include, TV, texting, video games, Internet surfing, and chatting. These types of things destroy their appetite for being productive. But if they're busy with something they're excited about, that becomes a great alternative."

This spoke to me at many different levels. First of all, I had to start with good ol' me. Do I use "mental junk food" to satisfy my own boredom? The answer was yes. I couldn't deny it. Sometimes there will be a dead space between my chores or homeschooling and I just want to "veg" a little. I'll run and check my email or Face Book. Maybe a BLOG or two. Now there is nothing really wrong with this choice, but my kids are up. They could use a little attention from mommy. Maybe I could read a story to the little ones or maybe I could do a short Bible study with the older ones? Maybe I could even slip into my prayer closet and have a meaningful conversation with my Lord? I need to choose the "better" thing.

Second, when I hear my children say "I'm bored, there is nothing fun to do around here." I often will put that child to work. They just don't want to take the effort to entertain themselves. I grew up not having a TV. I became an AVID reader! I also had a great imagination. Our children now days need to use their imaginations more! They can't do that when they are always "vegging" in front of the TV or in front of a video game. I am listening to my children and paying attention to what they want to "default" to. I am learning that when they are bored, they will always ask to watch a movie or play a video game. When this happens, I try to offer some different suggestions like "let's play a game, or go toss the football with your brother, ect." If they don't like my suggestions, I then say, "You figure it out, I'm not the entertainment committee!" I have a list of "Things to Do" if they just can't come up with anything on their own.

Since becoming more aware of the "mental junk food" I've allowed my children and I to ingest, we've sat down almost everyday to have a wonderful Devotion/Bible study time. I can't tell you the difference I've seen in my children's behavior! They are catching themselves regularly with their bad attitudes and turning it around quicker when things start to get ugly. I am giving less "codes" you can see my code chart system if you click here. This is a busy, large families saving grace when it comes to disciplining."

So I ask you, are you going to serve your children "meat" or "potato chips"? Let's give them the "meat" of God's Word and show them how to live a meaningful life by setting a great example for them. That is how we raise Kingdom Laborers!

17 comments:

kathy said...

I think I need to read this book! :)

Kimberly said...

My children never vocalize that they are bored- they know if they do it means a chore! With out school, my children have been earning way less tokens (our system for video game/computer time) this summer coupled with the fact that we haven't been home much, there hasn't been times of such bordom this year- but believe me that is just a fluke of this summer I've spent many right where you are!

Amy said...

I have cut back on TV and DS time and I also notice better behavior and she plays with her toys more.

She won't tell me that she is bored because I have a list of jobs she can do if she is bored. Washing all the silverwear is one of items on the list. LOL

We have allow more TV and DS time since she and I were sick, but I am cutting it again. She goes and reads her books if I won't play with her right that moment.

Have a blessed day.

Catherine said...

Oh, I wish more parents could grab this idea for themselves and their children! Great post.

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Ooh! Excellent post for parents of small children!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Man, this is excellent stuff, Stace! When Josiah tells me he's bored, I give him a chore. He's learning not to say those things.

Jill said...

Lovely post, and I so agree. I hardly ever have them sit and watch t.v. and it is RARE they sit idly on games. We enjoy our time we share together and I like them to use their imaginations!
Blessings,
Jill

Wanting What I Have said...

Oh it's so GOOD to be back! I've been without our computer for several weeks and have only gotten to read and post now and then. It's been wonderful reading all I'd missed out on! Horse Camp sounds wonderful! And Steve's attitude! WOW!!! T is often like that, too. It makes me so thankful. He's my "steady and calm" in the storm. :) I am loving these posts encouraging us to invest in our children. Thank you! You are precious and I thank God for you!

wife.mom.nurse said...

What a great chart!

I think I will go and tell my children to turn the TV off :)

Nama said...

Awesome post!
This is how I believe totally, but it is so easy, sometimes to default to the "chill mode" at inappropriate times. Thanks for the reminder! Excellent word.:)

Margaret said...

Great words. Sounds like a great book. Moms dislike the word boredom...
Great to see you today and get some Lily hugs. Have a great trip to ID....enjoy the time with Jackie and Catz.xoxo

Camille said...

Wonderful post Stacie! Thanks for sharing the things you are learning with all of us...it is a blessing.

Love,
Camille

Regina @VestPocketFamilyFarm said...

'Mental junk food' oh, yeah! You go with the better choice and I'll keep on choosing the better one too. Give my love to the kids, I so loved the horse camp, fun to have them running all over me.

nikki101076 said...

Great post! We are trying to do the same thing in our home. Although sometimes I can get engrossed in something and let the tv stay on or let the kids stay on the computer longer than they should. I still try to say ok everyone we got off a little or mom got off a little and I am not perfect so let's try again.Thanks for posting!

...they call me mommy... said...

Excellent stuff, Stacy!

...they call me mommy... said...

OUCH! Good post!

...they call me mommy... said...

LOL! I see I double posted! :P Well, triple now...:D

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