Guide to After School Activities: Don’t do (most of) them
I believe kids should know how to:
1. Be bored and…
2. Be hungry.
This blog focuses on #1.
It’s very hard (for me, included) not to get sucked into overscheduling kids. But what if missing t-ball at 4 years old means he won’t find his passion and make it into the big leagues? Or if she doesn’t learn coding, she might not gain her “STEM” confidence and then fogettabout MIT! But you want to know what my BIGGER fear is? My kid will lose his mind if he is bored.
I say this without judgement, but rather to be thought provoking. Kids today are shuttled around and spoonfed activity after activity. They don’t even know what boredom looks like, especially not if every gap of time is filled with passive screen time. Can you remember the last time you had real silence in your home? Room for your kids to think and have quiet play? If so, that’s awesome! If not, read on.
I have learned, though it’s more work for me as a mom, that a bored kid becomes a creative kid. My kids learn how to fight, how to play together, how to build cool stuff and how to make new things out of old (STEM!)– all when I’m doing laundry and preparing dinner. They have independence and it’s not because they are passively parked on the couch watching t.v. They don’t fear silence, they can enjoy their own creative little voices, they make things out of nothings.
At the ages of 2 and 4 it does take some setting them (and myself) up for success. Here are my tools:
Blue painters tape (to build “streets” on the floor of the house for them to drive around)
Open basket of wooden building blocks or Legos
Figures (dolls or other characters that can be used in anything they build)
Cardboard boxes (old diaper boxes good!)
That’s it. You let them figure the rest out. Your kids will be better for this downtime, as will you and our society at large.