I was reading this article, QUIRKY DISCIPLINE RULES THAT WORK, and when I got to rule #7 it made me think of my version of the "I'm Bored" rule. I have two step-children ages 7 and nearly 9 (and a baby on the way) that are constantly bored. I understand that they may have feelings of insecurity and thus need attention from my fiancé and I, but there has to be boundaries. They want our constant attention and as much fun as army, cops and robbers, and guns can be I'm just not always up to it, especially as I get bigger (21 weeks). When my fiancé and I started dating I noticed he would go down a list of things they could do on their own and then just let them watch TV or play video games. I am a strong believer in limited TV time (1/2 an hour/day if that and an occasional weekend movie) and self entertainment. So needless to say, after running my feelings on the subject past my fiancé of course, this soon changed and for the better. Now when confronted by the infamous "I'm bored" proclamation we reply simply that they "find something to do or we'll find something to do for them" (i.e. dishes, cleaning their room, dusting, picking up sticks from the yard, etc.). This does require follow through and consistency. They’re not allowed to just sit and watch us do whatever we're doing, most the time they say this while we're cooking dinner and will just sit at the table watching us. After a few times of putting them to work we no longer hear the “I'm bored” whine. This has worked great for us as we either got extra help with household chores out of this rule or two active, imaginative, and self entertained kids, that will amazingly enough actually get along (if they fight amongst each other while playing we'll also find something for them to do), rather than a couple of couch potatoes. Here’s the excerpt from the article that made me think of starting this thread. So what are your rules that work?
Rule #7: There's no such thing as boredom
Goal: Prevent your child from saying "I'm bored"; teach her to entertain herself
A friend of mine says this is one of the few things he got right with his kids. The first time his older daughter claimed she was bored he simply denied that the thing existed. Now he sometimes adds: "There's no such thing as boredom, only failure of the imagination" or "...only mental laziness." Surprisingly he's never gotten the "There is too boredom!" argument, only an exasperated "Da-ad." Regardless of the phrasing, the result is the same: The burden of amusement lands directly on your child, which is precisely where you want it.
Why it works: By the time your kids have figured out the puzzle of how something that exists can also not exist, they won't be bored. Also, it changes the terms of debate, from a challenge for you (list all my toys, then cave in and let me watch TV) to one for them. Besides -- if your child learns how to entertain herself, there truly is no such thing as boredom. And that's a gift that will last all her life.
Thank you for sharing that. My 7 year old pulls this especially during the summer. I think I'm gonna give this a try.
I'm happy to share and hope others will share too. It's nice getting creative ideas from people about rules that work as it can get frustrating with kids and they may have thought of something that might work in your situation and keep the family happy and frustration free.
thought I'd share a rule that my sister uses that I thought was a great idea.
My sister created a JOB JAR for my neices. basically she puts little slips of paper in a jar each with a job posted on it like doing dishes, dusting, cleaning the staircase, or MOM's choice and DAD's choice. When my neices go to her with the I'm bored whine they're told once that they need to find something to do and if they don't they pull a slip of paper and do the job listed (which rarely happens).
Also if they fight they're sent to the job jar and have to pick a slip of paper and do whatever job they pick TOGETHER. (this happens a lot more often, siblings fight)
Sometimes instead of making them work together when they fight, she'll have them stand and hug eachother for an extended period of time. at first they're all mad about having to stand there hugging eachother, but after a few minutes they start laughing about it and having a good time cause it's silly. afterwards thy're in a much better mood from the laughing and they get along. I like this and was considering trying it with my stepsons instead of sending them to their room for fighting. I think it would be more effective as the whole point is that we want them to get along and sending them to their room accomplishes little more than making them bored and more prone to fight. However, I don't know if it would have teh same effect on them at 7 and 9, as it does on my neices 5 and 8. Guess we'll find out!