Summer, and any other unstructured time of the year, can lead to boredom. Children and teens have to make pretty big energetic and logistical transitions each time the shift from school schedules to summer vacation and vice-versa. A bored kid is a kid whose brain is challenging them to get curious and explore something new.
The Transition to Summer
Often times, the transition into summer feels exciting; it may be a relief! Then, after several days or a few weeks, this less-structured time can begin to wear on children and teens. (And parents!) This lack of structure can create room for less desirable behaviors (think screens), and with plans and intentions, it can be a time of fun and joy.
In sessions this summer, I have guided teenage clients in developing Anit-Boredom Toolkits. These are simply lists of options, or a menu, that children and teens can use to get out of boredom and into engagement and curiosity. This is a living document that can be added to or edited at any time. A few clients have taken this one step further and even prepared a duffel bag, tackle box, or storage tub full of items from their list!
Below you will find a list that offers your child or teen ideas to consider as they create a unique and extensive toolkit. All they need to begin is a notebook and something to write with!
Considerations for your custom anti-boredom toolkit:
- Start with what you know you love. Include your favorite activities and hobbies on the list. Include the things you love to return to over and over again. Your passions and hobbies deserve to be on this list.
- Explore your 5 senses. Try to list at least one activity or option that will activate each of your senses! Challenge yourself to think outside of the box!
- Try something new. If there’s a skill or hobby you’ve been thinking about for some time, encourage yourself to take the leap. Consider taking a camp or class for guidance, or check our YouTube, blogs, or books for how-tos.
- Gather inspiration. Use magazines, documentaries, web searches, Pinterest, etc to inspire you. You might enjoy creating a summer vision board, or a collage to capture your inspirations and hopes.
- Balance alone time with connections with others. Ensure that some of your list items give you time to be with yourself. Likewise, include options that bring you into connection with friends, family, or your community.
- Consider your career interests. What ideas do you have for your career? Perhaps there volunteer or internship options related to your interest. Alternately, you might like to delve into research about this career path through documentaries, books, etc.
- Take advantage of nature. Include options that are centered around nature, whether it be a park, a neighborhood, or a hike in the woods.
- Do some research. It can be helpful to look at local calendars or stop by the local library or coffee shop to look at bulletin boards. There are tons of ideas out there waiting for you to find them. Stay open to the possibilities and notice what sparks your interest along the way.
- Ask your friends and family for ideas. Chat with friends and family and ask them about their favorite activities and passions. As they share, notice if anything catches your attention. Bonus: if you find a common interest, you have built-in connection time with a friend or family member!
- Incorporate self-care. It’s important to include activities that are calming and relaxing for you. These are small ways that you can offer yourself comfort and care. This can be time for reading, taking baths, or journaling, for example.
- Review your list with your parents. Share your brainstorming with your parents! They’ll be excited to hear your ideas and interests. If some activities require family support– for transportation, financially, for safety, etc.– begin a conversation with them about how you might be able to meet these goals.
A Tool for the Whole Family
While the list portion of this article is meant to be a tool for your child or teen, I invite you notice the ideas that have come to your mind. Is it time for you to build a boredom toolkit too?! Creating, maintaining, and using this type of catalog is likely to increase your intentionality surrounding self-care. Instead of defaulting to screens or the couch, you have a whole list of energizing and soothing ideas that you can consider.
If you and your child or teen are looking for support as you build Summer Boredom Toolkits, let’s chat! I work with clients to co-create systems that bring their family into deeper connection, and I would be honored to support you on the journey!
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