leave your inhibitions at the door
Any of you parents sick of the “I’m BORED” conversations yet? I came up with the idea of Summer Resolutions and figured it might help some of you all. So far it’s helping – it hasn’t completely eradicated the boredom, but definitely reduced it.
From the end of June through August 31st, we challenged the kids to learn a new skill or hobby of their choice. The hope is that they would start an interest in something that they can do the rest of their lives as a career or hobby. They have to work on it for two hours a week (excluding when they’re at camp) without any prodding or reminders from us and track their own progress. At the end of the summer, if they kept it up, they’ll get some kind of award.
Of course, the potential of learning a life skill – as well as self-starting and perseverance – is enough of a prize. But any parent will tell you that argument doesn’t really work with kids. (As soon as that parent stops laughing at the suggestion.)
As expected, this was met with some resistance. I countered that resistance by pointing out that those two hours translates to less than 20 minutes a day. And that they just watched a 30-minute episode of SpongeBob for the 437th time. AFTER spending 2 hours on Instagram, YouTube and Minecraft.
We didn’t have many rules around what they could choose. The first is that it couldn’t be something that they’re already doing, like flute or piano. Also, they can’t take up jogging and have the running they do at lacrosse camp count towards their goal. Finally, whatever they chose couldn’t result in mom or dad schlepping them across town every day.
To help them along, we gave them some suggestions:
– reading (two books a week)
– volunteer work
It doesn’t need to be formal lessons or anything like that, though there are Groupons for online photography or guitar lessons that are pretty cheap. Even if they just went out and messed around with their chosen activity, they’d still be doing something somewhat productive. Anything but this –
We talked this through with them and they were pretty psyched up about it. Even now, a couple weeks later, interest is still high. Of course, they still complain about being bored. Just less often.
One of the girls initially decided on learning Mandarin but, after checking out an online lesson, quickly switched to photography. Our son chose bicycling with a goal of riding his new bike 100 miles by end of summer. As for our other daughter…. Stay tuned.
How do you fight summer boredom? What would your summer resolution be?