Contrary to political correctness my ‘smacking hand’ gets very twitchy this time of year. Just occasionally I mourn the 1960’s and 70’s when one was allowed to wallop your offspring for misdemeanours and offences. I don’t have a personality that tends towards violence, in fact quite the opposite…I’ve been called the Queen of Rose Coloured Glasses, but I can see the merit in a good flogging on some occasions.
Inevitably, a few days after the Goose has laid the Golden Christmas Egg, and the Fruit of my Loins stop rushing around the house on a mega-sugar high (entirely my fault, I’ll add), I get the feeling I’ve gone wrong somewhere…..when I begin to hear the refrain….
“I haven’t got anything to do…”
“Can we go somewhere?”
“What can I do?” etc.
My eyes sweep the unholy mess around the house, the overabundant Christmas decorations, undone vacuuming, washing in piles going to compost in the heat, and the refrigerator begging for a cleanout. I brandish a few ‘jobs’ in The Teens direction, wistfully imagining young-in’s rushing around setting things to right. Uh uh. Nup. Their eyes roll and one saunters off, the other flops one leg casually over an arm chair. “We didn’t mean WORK!!”
My mother used to say that ‘boredom is just a lazy person’s excuse for not doing anything’. How unbelievably true. But who’s fault is it actually??? Mine? Surely not. Is it the Kids’ faults? Perhaps…partly. Or is it the fault of modern life…the curse of Gen Y and Z….who have been trained a-la-Pavlov, to expect everything instantaneously and for zero effort? (aka remote controls, smart phones, microwaves, air conditioners). Their brains go into a funk when they’re not being stimulated constantly by earphones, screens and buttons. Technology has a lot to answer for. Whole sections of kids’ and teens’ brains are being ‘deleted’…or should I say the neural nets are often not making complete connections to their imagination. Imagination takes practice.
And there’s one more added ingredient. Comfort Parenting. It’s in my makeup to want to sort everyone out, make them comfy and happy. I quite often did this and inadvertantly derailed an attempt at self entertainment. So I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t pander to the “I’m Bored” syndrome. I try not to “Why don’t you….” or “Let’s go to…” Instead, a quick backhander is always the best remedy for boredom. Not a physical backhander, but a psychological one. “If you can’t find anything to do, I have TONS of jobs”….and I delegate a neat little task (washing, sweeping, cleaning…) to any kid who complains they’re bored. It’s not a ‘paying’ job either. It’s a ‘helping’ job. I feel this is only reasonable given the pleasant Christmas and New Year they’ve had. Over the years they have become used to being delegated jobs over celebration periods ….. (oh, I have some cracker ideas for bored teenagers) and now never-ever-EVER say they’re bored. HA!
If they need a push, however, instead of using the electric cattle prod, which was my first idea….perhaps try these –
20 Things to do on School Holidays that cost nothing
(or very little) for teens.
- Make a list of 50 things you would rather do at home, than go to school! (This one is a great thing to do while you’re still AT school…)
- Have a camp out night – in your own backyard, in a tent, with sleeping bags, a lamp etc, in the garage, whatever. Have a BBQ (campfire), sausages, buy some marshmallows to toast, invite a friend.
- Learn to cook one dinner and one dessert (for the family).
- Go pickup the Learner Driver’s Handbook and study it ready to get your L Plates, do the online learner driver’s quizzes, or if you have your Learner Licence already, take a look at a road map, devise a circuit and ask a parent to take you for a lesson.
- Find a bushwalk or bike path, lookout, National Park or City walk – take a picnic and go for a walk/hike/bike ride.
- Invite friends over for a ‘BYOF’ BBQ or lunch. Delegate one food item to each person (or they can pick from a list: drink, nibbles, sausages, onions, bread – etc)
- Make a home movie on your smart phone and edit it using video editing software and put it on a DVD to show the family.
- Take some well thought out portrait photos of your friends and family on your smart phone. Set them up properly, like a studio, inside or out OR draw or paint your family portraits, your pet, or a still life.
- Think about something you’d love to buy and plan out a budget to save up for it, include doing some jobs for money, or getting work if required. Or even organise a car wash for your family and neighbours. Set the price a
nd then advertise in the street before the day.
- Go fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, beachcombing for shells, or fossicking.
- Sort out your wardrobe, make a wish list.
- Learn how to solve a rubik’s cube or learn a fab magic trick.
- Look up Home Science Experiements online, and have some fun with them
- Make something crafty – there are tons of ideas online.
- Give yourself or a friend a fabulous Up Do hairstyle, and do eachother’s makeup – then take some super selfies.
- Find a local museum or art gallery – they’re usually free – go check it out.
- Learn to Tie Dye and make yourself a T shirt or bandanna
- Find friends with fun games – Cards Against Humanity, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Twister, Game of Phones, depending on your age – Poker, and invite some peeps over for a game night (or day).
- Host a movie afternoon or night. Make Popcorn!
- Go to a local Goodwill/Thrift store with a couple of dollars and buy yourself something fab – a cd, a dvd, a piece of clothing, earrings…you never know what you’ll find!