Non-Recipe Posts

Simplify Boredom (Kid Edition!)

Okay, okay I know I’m not likely going to cure boredom for every kid out there and that’s not my intent. My goal here is to help YOU and your sanity by sharing some tips I’ve found over the years of simplifying kids’ boredom. I won’t lie, the core of almost every boredom cure for kids is the art of distraction. Your skill level with distracting your kids is your key to staying sane. Distraction is the key here people! Read on for some examples and you will see what I mean…

Types of boredom

Let’s start by simplifying and identifying what type of boredom your kids are experiencing so you can figure out how to put your ninja distraction skills to the test! Here are the main types that I’ve identified and attempted to tackle over the years:

  • Pent up energy and no outlet boredom
  • Stuck in the same day to day routine boredom
  • Tired of everything they own boredom

Why does that matter?

Right about now you are likely thinking this post is going nowhere and is just vague..don’t give up on it yet! Knowing what your kid is feeling really does make a difference with how you help solve their dilemma of being bored as a gourd. Can your doctor just prescribe a magic cure all medicine without first figuring out what ails you? Nope to the nope nope. Same concept here on a much smaller and less life threatening scale. Well, maybe not less life threatening in your kid’s eyes because they are obviously so bored they could just die of boredom (cue dramatic sigh from your kid and eye roll from yourself).

Get it, got it, good. Moving on to examples!

Pent up energy and no outlet:

I’m going to tackle the first kind of boredom as that’s presently what I’m dealing with thanks to Mother Nature deciding that endless snowmaggedon storms and sub zero temperatures would be a super fun way to end the winter and start off spring. As a result, this mother was at her wit’s end trying to find outlets for her kid’s equally endless high metabolism and off the chart energy levels. I’m going to preface all this by saying I have a six year old daughter but I know that regardless of age or gender, most kids all struggle with feeling bored when they can’t play outside.

When stuck inside, distract the kids by creating a new spaces inside so they don’t miss the outside world. Wait..wha?? For example, clear out a space in that spare bedroom no one uses and your kid likely never plays in. Or your bedroom or your basement or whatever. Throw in all your spare pillows and blankets and challenge your kid to make the biggest pillow pit possible so they can (harmlessly) jump into it or make the ultimate “fort” to play in or set up that tent that’s collecting dust in your storage room or garage. This forces your kid to use their brain (mental energy) and be active (physical energy). Bonus, you now have the rest of the house to yourself (woohoo!) and you have all the pillows and comforters off the beds so may as well toss the sheets in the laundry 😉 You are now the cool parent and likely feeling like a genius and accomplished for getting some cleaning done while curing boredom for the day!

Stuck in the same day to day routine:

You can’t really blame kids for feeling this way, most adults get sick and tired of the rut they have somehow become stuck in. Let’s distract our kids and ourselves at the same time from the “norm” and get a little spontaneity back in our lives! I don’t ever want my kid to feel bored but, when she does, I always secretly hope it’s this kind of boredom because then the cures end up being amazing for me too! Now what am I talking about? Read on friends!

Let’s say every day after work you pick the kid(s) up, come home, eat dinner, give them a bath, read a book, and put them to bed. Sleep. Repeat. Fun right? Sometimes it can be but mostly it’s just necessities that have formed into a routine. Shake things up with a little planning ahead. Pack a picnic dinner and blanket and a stack of books and, instead of going straight home, go to a park or playground and let your kid exert some of their extra energy. When they eventually tire themselves out, spread out the blanket and eat them relax by reading together. Too cold or cruddy outside for that? What about still skipping going straight home and taking a detour to the library? Most libraries have dedicated kid sections with toys and electronics so your kid can again use some mental energy and also get a nice mini social outing and meet new kids. Hint: if you haven’t read my last post about Simplifying Extra Time please do so and see how library trips can benefit you as well as your kid(s)!

What about morning routines? Same concept, different ideas. Instead of shoving dry cereal into a baggie and tossing it at your kid in the car on the way to drop them off, try getting up a half hour early once in a blue moon and go “out” for breakfast. Here’s the best part, most kids think any sort of restaurant (cough cough drive through fast food cough cough) is “going out to eat”. That means you don’t have to rouse the household two hours early and shuffle everyone’s cranky self to a sit down restaurant for breakfast. How fun would it be as a kid to get to go out to eat before school and do something so out of the norm? Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Hy-Vee, etc…all have quick items to grab and you can eat in or even run out to pick it up and surprise everyone when they wake up! You are once again transformed into the cool parent and, huge bonus here, you are likely now caffeinated with some take out coffee before facing another day at work!

Tired of everything they own:

Why is it that kids throughout every generation have become more and more focused on stuff? With that increased focus, the amount of stuff they accumulate also increases. And with more stuff, one would assume there would be less boredom. HA! Remember the good ol’ days growing up when we only had a fraction of the toys and games that our kids today enjoy? As kids ourselves we got bored with our few toys just like our kids today get bored with their many toys. Doesn’t matter what you have, it’s what you are used to having and, after a while, it gets boring! Ready for the key? Make them use their stuff in different ways!

My absolute favorite tip with doing this is to create obstacle courses using items they use every day or haven’t used in months. Take that puzzle they never get around to finishing and make it part of the obstacle course that they have to put 4 pieces together before moving onto the next stage. After a couple rounds of the course, that puzzle will be magic! What about those stairs they trudge up and down every day? Those are suddenly the starting line to the race portion of the obstacle course! You must run up the stairs but can’t step on the ones with the red paper laying on them or you have to start over! Know how tired kids get from racing up and down stairs? I do and I love it!!! Look on Pinterest for obstacle course ideas using toys or household items and you’ll be shocked at the ideas you can easily put together! Jump rope? Lay it out in a crazy line and kid has to balance on it. Frisbee? Have to toss it from where it lays into the laundry basket. Easter basket and eggs leftover from years past? Have to toss five eggs in the basket or find 2 of the hidden eggs (Easter egg hunts NOT on Easter? I know, don’t yell at’s fun any time as a kid trust me!). Masking tape? Have to jump on the Xs on the floor and spin in the box made from tape lines on the floor. Get where I’m going here?

Final favorite example is to create scavenger hunts. This is great because it can be educational, time consuming, and interesting. Here are some clues I’ve given: find 3 (round or square or soft) things from the basement, find 1 thing in the kitchen that starts with the same letter as your name, find 2 orange items in your room, find a stuffed animal you forgot you had, find a board game or puzzle you want to play with me later, find 2 things that rhyme. I usually don’t get too complicated with these and have one clue lead to the next, I just say let’s see if you can make it through ten clues then we will have a snack together and see what you found! The big thing with this is to make your kid think and also make them run all over the house and back. This will almost inevitably end up with your kid coming across something they had that they forgot about and they want to play with. Curing boredom AND making them realize they have lots of fun stuff if they would just look around=winning!

Boredom…be gone!

I sincerely hope this post didn’t lead to boredom on your part and I can only pray that it sparked a few ideas for you and your kid(s). Boredom is a part of life but it doesn’t have to be a regular part. Thanks for reading today and please share with anyone you know who is struggling with boredom cures for the littles in their lives. Also, feel free to comment and share any tried and true tips you have on this topic!

Simplify Extra Time!

So today, as we were stuck sitting inside (yet again) thanks to Mother Nature’s plans to thwart any thoughts of activities outside the walls of our home, I realized there are likely so many others out there struggling with the same thing. Yep, the ever-dreaded drone of boredom and feelings of having wasted time but no set plans to do anything with it.

As adults, we get tend to get antsy and feel irritable when we have extra unplanned time on our hands. But, let’s be honest, we also secretly love the opportunity to have that time to potentially accomplish things around the house or in our lives. Reorganize the grocery dumping ground/kid self-serve feeding and rummaging station (AKA pantry)? Bless your enthusiasm and may the odds be ever in your favor! Clean out freezer? Mentally prepare yourself to find things looooong forgotten and make sure your trash day is tomorrow! Start one of the numerous workout plans you’ve pinned to your Pinterest’s fitness board? Time to get your sweat on! Start that blog, personal goal, or Pinterest project you have had the best intentions about for months now? Believe me, totally worth the time and energy involved! Will it be easy to start something like one of those things I mentioned? Absolutely not. Will it feel beyond amazing when you are done? You bet your patootie it will be!!! Here are some other tips that have helped me cure boredom AND feel accomplished over the years.

What time is it? Time to get organized!

  • Make a list (yes, you know me well enough by now that I have lists for everything!). Humor me for a few minutes here. Imagine yourself having a couple extra hours on your hands and a strong sense of feeling motivated. Now imagine what happens historically every time you have you sit there thinking of all the things you could accomplish? Do you start a major project only to lose motivation or have it branch out into 7 other side projects? Do you end up in bed that night wondering what happened to that precious time of yours yet again? Me too. Think about if you had a sort of self-honey-do list for those days with manageable items already listed out so you could simply pick one instead? Instead of getting distracted by other projects you can write those projects down on your existing list while you are focused like a laser on completing the 1 project you picked for the day. Disclaimer: you will likely never reach the end of your list because one project inevitably leads to another via the snowball theory but hey, for those of us in the Midwest this is likely a list for snowy days anyway so seems fitting, right?
  • Make sure your list is comprised of a range of projects including: menial tasks that only involve minimal hands on time (wash all bedding in the house and make up fresh beds); intermediate tasks (dust all blinds in the house and vacuum out window sills); big honker tasks (rearrange garage and figure out organization and storage once and for all). I also highly recommend including a “Self-Care Section” on your list because who of us doesn’t deserve to take some of our beloved extra time and use it selfishly? My list for this portion was so simple (go on a date with my hubby, find a new boutique in town and go shopping, schedule a mani/pedi, get a facial, buy a new best selling book and actually start reading it, mini family vacation, girls night out, etc). Balance is key with simplifying anything, you could go gung-ho and take every one of your extra hours to accomplish something but you will inevitably then come to dread your precious extra time. By balancing that extra time between accomplishing things you need to do and also rewarding yourself for those accomplishments you will come to enjoy that time instead.

Extra time is GOOD for you!

I could have also said that extra time can be good for you if you make that choice. I’m less than qualified to preach on personal goals and aspirations this but it’s something I feel strongly about so forging ahead anyway. Make sure you know what your own goals are…these are more than the projects you put on your list earlier, these are things to better yourself. Have you always wanted to learn another language? Would you get ahead professionally if only you could take a course in _____? Do you feel you have marital or parenting struggles? Are you wanting to get back in shape but don’t know where to start? Write down solutions to each one. These aren’t things you are going to tackle in an extra hour but they may be things you could spend time researching or get the ball rolling on at least!

What do I mean? Consider online classes or a membership to the library. There are so many resources out there at people’s fingertips and it’s so rare that people bother to use them. Take advantage! I got a library membership years ago and it’s been one of the best decisions of my personal and parenting life. They offer audio books that I can listen to on my morning commute so I am “reading” without feeling guilty about missing time at home with my family. They pointed me in the right direction to take absolutely FREE online classes which have helped me in so many ways (Excel class to make my reports stand out and get me recognized at my work, parenting psychological classes to make me realize what I am inadvertently doing wrong and all that I’m doing right as a floundering mom, secondary language courses that I can take to brush up before we take that next vacation out of the country). They also have information at your fingertips of events in/around the community and clubs you or your kids or spouse could join. Oh yeah, and they obviously have literature on every subject imaginable and those can spark ideas to start your own goals (investing in the stock market, learning new cooking techniques, starting your own blog!).

What about that exercise you keep meaning to get around to? First, figure out what you are interested in trying (or previously loved to do) for physical activity. Next, consider your budget and whether it’s feasible to have to pay for workout classes, gym memberships, or equipment. If it is, start researching what is convenient (and feasible!) with your real life. Take it from me, don’t waste your time or money on a gym across town, you say you will go but you won’t. Don’t get talked into the latest workout craze or your friend’s favorite workout class, Cycling & Zumba aren’t for everyone 😉 If your budget doesn’t allow for anything right now then make a budget plan so you can afford it in the near future and, in the meantime, look into any discounted options available. Lots of employers and insurance agencies offer discounted rates for gyms and you could also pay for a couple sessions of a class to learn the basics then continue at home to decrease expenses involved. In the interim before you can afford the gym membership, don’t give up on that goal with the flimsy excuse of being broke. Have you heard of our good friend YouTube? It has workout videos on literally anything you could possibly be interested in doing and you can just follow along at home!

Summing It Up!

Sorry friends, this one got a little lengthy and sparked more ideas on my end. So stay tuned for a follow up post regarding boredom cures for kids and tips to simplify that because we all knows kids don’t have ‘extra time’ they have ‘BOREDOM’. Thanks for reading today and please share with any acquaintances you know who are also struggling with how to handle extra time on their hands!

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