Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anidote To Boredom

For WFMW, I thought I would discuss our favorite antidotes to boredom.
Sometime in the course of life you are bound to find yourself sitting idly on a bench in a shopping mall, at an amusement park, or even in a hospital with your children who could easily deteriorate into a tantrum. While waiting on somebody to finish shopping, finish eating, get out of the bathroom, or simply waiting for some news, your children may not understand why they have to wait, too. Although I have had to deal with my share of tantrums in public as well as private places, activity has been the key to help minimize the chaos. Crayons and paper aren’t always in my purse, but kids can be entertained for variable periods of time depending on your luck and practice. Here are some possible suggestions:

My kids love to let me know what they know. I can have them count, say the alphabet, tell me the names of their relatives (e.g. Aunt Julie), show me where their right or left elbow is located, or recite whatever else we have been working on recently. Sometimes your child may even sing you a song. Books that we have read to the point of having them memorized, “The sun has set not long ago. Now, everybody goes below. To take a bath in one big tub…” can be recited with pauses for your child to insert the next word.

When mental focus starts to drift, use the power of touch. Games like patty-cake are interactive, and the tactile stimulation escalates the battle against an unfocused child. Sesame Street Patty-cake book has several touch filled, interactive, and easy to remember games that you could try. If your child knows shapes, have them close their eyes and tell you whether you traced a square or a triangle on their belly. If they know numbers, have them count the number of times you tap their shoulder - - and try to trick them by faking a tap!

My kids love to play with other kids. Sometimes in order to be the best parent I can be, I have to be a kid. Hold hands with your son and jump over all of the black tiles in the shopping mall floor. Prove that you can stand on one foot or your tippy-toes longer than your daughter. Don’t be afraid to let the passers-by see you dance or ring-around-the-rosie. Silliness may be the ultimate antidote to boredom. Much like the recent release from George Strait “I Saw God Today,” you never know whose day you may brighten by public displays of vivacious happiness. But even if a passing curmudgeon doesn’t like our behavior, I’m raising self confident kids who know their mother is in love with them, and that same observer would be even more disapproving of a child on the ground screaming.

Of course, a sucker could work too!

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