By: Mia L. Hazlett
How many times a day have you heard this from your kid(s), “I’m bored.” There are those times when there is really nothing to do, but ultimately if your kids have an imagination, they can keep themselves entertained. The one thing I took care of early on with my daughters is, I’m their mother, not their toy. I was not put on this earth to entertain them (wow I sound like my mother right there). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of family things that we do together, but when it came to the weekends and I had worked all week, “find something to do,” constantly left my mouth.
In fact, I don’t even think I was programmed to be a constant source of entertain for my kids. I don’t ever recall playing with my parents. Maybe a board game and television program here and there, but ultimately it was “go outside and play.” And I don’t recall ever coming back inside unless I had to use the bathroom and that would be met with a harsh, “what are you doing?” Being thirsty is a constant excuse for my kids to pop in the house, but I’m pretty sure I used to drink from some metallic tasting hose on the the side of the house. But I’ll admit, I do let me kids come inside and get a drink every now and again.
So as I raise my kids in the video game and technology entertainment era, I give myself a pat on the back with all the toys my children actually play with. They can’t get enough of Barbie and her crew (I know they must have at least 15). But with Barbie comes the Dream Castle and pool and five cars and every outfit imaginable. Now some of their Barbies talk or say stuff when you press a button, but for the most part, it’s my daughters’ imaginations that rule what comes out of their mouths. If they are not in the Barbie covered basement, they are in their bedroom playing school. I peeked in the other day as my oldest was “teaching” my youngest, who sat among all of her fellow students (the stuffed animals). When school is not in session, my youngest has found her fun in painting rocks. We pick them out from outside and at this point I think we have run out of paint. Warmer weather brings bike riding and fun in the sandbox, along with going to the nearby beach.
I haven’t totally banished television and video games from their lives. They have a Wii and Nickelodeon along with the Disney Channel have played parts in their lives. I can’t remember the last time they played with the Wii. But there is little time for television once schoolwork is complete, dinner is eaten, and then it’s Barbies, school, and I did leave out playing house with the six or seven baby dolls they have. I don’t always enjoy their interpretation of the mother role when they play, but I also pick my battles.
So I guess I have a problem with parents that have to have every moment of their child’s day planned. Won’t they have time for all that when they become adults? Won’t their lives be set to a schedule? Not that my kids don’t have their weekly routine, but if we’re not headed anywhere on a weekend, what’s wrong with all-day pajamas? And what am I teaching them if they can’t self-entertain? Does that mean my world should somehow stop because my kid is bored? Not with me. I’ve found that when they are bored, TV and video games are the fall back. Or you can find yourself a balloon and rub it against your head to produce static electricity. Then you can sit with your kids for the next ten minutes laughing as you all watch everyone’s hair stand on end. Don’t rule out the joy a flashlight can bring. Apparently lighting up your siblings nostrils is hilarious and worth at least fifteen minutes of fun. There’s also entertainment in an empty suitcase with wheels. Please beware of rolling loaded (child-full) suitcases down the stairs. My point is, if you take away batteries, electricity, and me, my kids can still entertain themselves.