How My Kids are Keeping Busy this Summer

When I was a child, my mother used to say, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” I find myself saying the same thing to my kids whenever boredom leads to trouble. Not that I’m against boredom. A certain amount is healthy — it allows children to use their imaginations and creativity in a free and leisurely manner. Excessive boredom, however,  makes children want to eat when they’re not hungry and waste time on video games (which we don’t do here). It also incites kids to pester their siblings because they have nothing else to do.

The warm, care-free days of summer are a wonderful gift. But children still need structure. They still need to use their time constructively.  Besides play-dates, swimming, biking, and sports, here are some things we are doing to make the most of our summer days.

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The Five Types of Tattle-Tales

Summer is here! And with it, mosquito bites, scraped knees, and an outbreak in tattle-taling. Being home all day with half-a-dozen kids,  I have noticed there are five (yes, five!) different types of tattle-tales. Not all tattles are created equally. Here’s what they are and what we can do about them:

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Summer Strewing: How to Keep Your Kids Busy

A few weeks ago,  I wrote about giving your children  A Real Childhood Summer by getting rid of video games and social media. I know it may seem extreme, but it is so easy to slide into letting our kids sit in front of the screen too much. Just take a look at these stats:

Children and teens between the ages of eight and eighteen spend about six and a half hours each day with various forms of media. Three hours, on average, are spent watching television, approximately two hours are spent with a radio, CD, or MP3 player, and another hour or more is spent on the computer outside of schoolwork….

In an average week, a boy spends forty-five and a half hours, or more time than he would spend at a full time job, with either television, computer, music, or MP3.- Meg Meeker, M.D.,  Boys Should be Boys.

6.5 hrs a day on media? 45.5 hours a week on media? That’s what I call extreme!

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Ten Boredom Busters and Brain Boosters

Here’s an article I wrote for Mercatornet years ago:

Ahhh… the lazy days of summer are here.  School is over, and it’s time for a more relaxing and peaceful – “Moooommmmm!!!!” screamed my daughter. All-Star is bugging me!!!”  “Well, she won’t let me play with her,” complained All-Star. “He keeps knocking over my dolls!” exclaimed Big-Sis. I could tell that All-Star was bored and looking for trouble. “Big-Sis, come here” I said firmly. He reluctantly came. And I handed my six year old a knife.

  The summer time is often peak time for boredom among children.  They have too much time on their hands and they often don’t know what to do with it.  Boredom in children precedes trouble, such as nagging for new toys, self-pity, loneliness, bickering, and irate parents. So, aside from summer camps and field trips, how can we keep our kids happily busy and productive? Here’s my top-ten list:

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