I have three boys who are all different.
My oldest son has a to-do list in his head every day. Legos, minecraft, play, tv, video games, play, legos...something like that (it's summer). At the end of the day, if he doesn't get something accomplished, he knows it and says so.
My middle son is different. "Middle" wanders around the house waiting for something to jump out at him and say, "play with me!" He often schleps up to me and says, "Mom?? I am bored." (cue slouching and pleading look on his face).
More than not, it irritates me.
I don't know if it's because I tend to be more like the older child or because I am so busy with other things, but, just the thought of boredom is like a luxury.
I think the main reason is because I don't have any answers for him.
I actually think being bored is good for you. I even say that to Middle sometimes. He doesn't like it.
Let's get to the heart of boredom. Why are kids bored sometimes?
For us, and for my Middle, it comes down to not being allowed to watch t.v. or play video games 24-7. He likes to be entertained - easily. So much so, that he has lost the ability to come up with something to do almost entirely. Now, I say almost, because after a few tears and protestations, he will eventually find something to do.
He asks: "Well, then what should I do?" At first I took the bait - I would come up with a list of things for him to do. I should do it like my friend who if their kids tell her they are bored, she puts them to work.
Middle never likes any of my suggestions. Any guesses as to why?
Number one is that he is disgruntled that I said no to technology.
Number two is that he doesn't really want to be told what to do.
He knows he should use his imagination. He knows he can come up with something to do. What prevent my son from choosing something to do is his strong desire for easy entertainment and something that I am going to war against in my home: technology addiction.
Here's the soapbox portion of this post.
It is my opinion that our kids are so used to being surrounded by technology these days - video games, television, handheld devices and cell phones, that a portion of their brain has all but shut down. The part of the brain that has to do with creativity, imagination and contentedness. Technology is an escape and a lazy form of entertainment. Viewers are not required to think beyond allowing the images and sounds to penetrate their eyes. Binge watching television can lead to later mental health issues too.
It's not a secret that technology is everywhere and our kids are surrounded on all sides. So what are we to do?
I try to limit their tech time.
We are striving to cut back as we speak. This summer (and during my recent pregnancy) I let it get a little out of control to be completely honest with you. By that start of school I am hoping to implement my yearly "no television before school, episode at lunch rule." Since we homeschool, the temptation for t.v. is always there!
Also, I found that the longer my kids play video games, the harder it is for them to get off of them and to start interacting with other people in the house again. It's like they learn the ability to communicate while they are gaming! My kids have a hard time transitioning from video games to personal interaction.
I have also shared with them your concerns about how much technology time they have. It's important to let them know you want them to be happy and healthy - and that staring at a screen 4-5 hours a day is not healthy. My kids hate it when I say it, but, I tell them it will turn their brains to mush.
And the hardest one of all...I am trying to control my own technology habits. I am a computer-geek. I love to research things online and blog too. This one's hard for me - but - every time they come into the room and find me on my computer - I feel my conscience being pricked.
Hey! Do you have any good ideas for making sure your kids don't spend too much on technology? Tell me in the comments! I need some fresh ideas!