“Mom, I’m bored!” has got to be one of the most hated phrases in the English language. And thanks to the Northwest’s six months of rain, drizzle and showers (yup, our weathermen try to make it sound like we actually have weather variance here), it’s a refrain you can expect to hear a lot of.
What’s a parent to do? You’ve got to be PREPARED! Here’s what I have found works in my own house to combat the rainy day blues:
1. Work with your child to make a list of fun activities to do on rainy days. We spent 20 minutes coming up with about 20 things to do, such as playing with robots, having a pillow fight, baking cookies and reading stories. Then he illustrated each picture. Now when he comes whining to me, all I have to do is point to the list.
2. Have plenty of board games, activity books and puzzles on hand. Make sure your board games and puzzles have all of their pieces and toss those suckers if they don’t. Don’t buy your puzzles and board games at resale shops, because they may have been donated BECAUSE they are missing pieces (grrr ….)
3. Have a designated area for arts and crafts. The right craft project can occupy a child for a long time (like, 30 whole minutes!) Make space for these miracles to happen by designating a corner of the playroom for a craft table and chairs or setting up a cupboard to hold craft supplies in your kitchen or dining room.
4. Bookmark websites with calendars of kids’ activities in your city. Here in Portland, Oregon, I check out http://www.pdxkidscalendar.com/ regularly.
5. There’s always work around the house that can be done. If you are trying to do a home repair, let your child hold the flashlight. If you are trying to get laundry folded, let your child pick out all of his or her clothes or match up socks. If you are trying to get dishes put away, let your child put away the silverware. Chores combat boredom and teach helpful skills. Just be prepared for the chore to take a little longer than usual.
6. Get some books with titles along the lines of “100 activities for a rainy day.” Know where that book is at all times!
7. Is there a holiday coming up, even if it’s six weeks away? Make decorations, design cards, and pick out recipes now with your kids.
8. Playdates can be a godsend! But plan carefully. The only thing worse than having your child bored is having two children bored. Better refer to your Rainy Day Activity List for a few ideas.
Classic image of a child trying to think of something to do that doesn’t involve cartoons or video games courtesy of Campanero Rumbero at Flickr.