Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keeping boredom at bay with balanced routines

Everyone has a unique level of need for routine and in our household finding that balance has often provided the key to avoiding boredom.

We need just the right amount of structure and habits to keep the house clean, my sanity intact, and the kids secure. We also need that "seasoned to taste" dash of surprise and freshness to keep life interesting.

In general, we have a rough schedule we follow through the summer months. Morning chores, breakfast, light school a few days a week, and swimming whenever the weather cooperates. Dinner and evening family activities (games, campfire, movies, etc.) all take on a new flavor when the temperatures rise outside.

While each week brings unique experiences, we generally see some common themes, including the following:

Work -- Chores have to get done, laundry still needs washing, food still needs cooking, and yard work definitely needs lots of attention. While work isn't always necessarily fun, it keeps boredom at bay. When kids comment about not knowing what to do, I have plenty of ideas up my sleeve, and they often have lots of great ideas of their own of which they just thought.

New skills -- We love to use summer time to learn new recipes, improve our sewing, start a new hobby, write letters, paint, etc. So many activities get shoved into the corners in the regular business of life. Summer months can give us some great times to dust these off and put them to use.

Serve others -- Bake something for a neighbor, draw pictures to send to a relative, babysit for a young couple, serve at a food bank, etc. This is something we have just dabbled in, but we already have a few plans for our summer calendar in this regard. Turning our focus outward always helps alleviate boredom. (read about our first service project here)

Make a list -- My kids have often given us great ideas for local fun in the summer months. Zoos, arcades, malls, parks, play dates, etc. They all have at least one or two things they really want to do each summer, and usually we can make them happen.

Read -- Even in busy summers where we have done little to no school, we always read. There are so many great reading incentives around and the benefit to the reading in and of itself is priceless.

Those are some ways we fight boredom in our house. Any ideas to add? Need more inspiration? Head over to We Are THAT Family for WFMW, the Mom, I'm Bored edition.


Dusti said...

I completely agree.
We homeschool so it's up to me how we spend the summer but I think falling to far from our routine would make us all miserable. We are doing morning school then a balance of housework/gardening and playing outside.
God Bless

Sherry said...

I'm looking forward to doing some service work with my children. :D I think today we will start working on making some mini breads to do just that. :D

ilovemy5kids said...

I love to read during the summer months with my children! It always turns into an adventure!