When kids don’t know what to do with themselves

Agn & BarIt’s the dog days of summer and the kids have already swam, played hours of video games, watched TV, done their reading and they ask for one more thing (like to watch another movie) and you realize that it’s time to end the electronics for the day, but you have a lot to do and once they are forced to wean from their electronic breast they are front and center our problem to deal with.  They challenge us:  “So, what am I supposed to do?”

And you tick through your head on all the constructive suggestions that you have long before made, and which you know that they will reject if you make them again (i.e. read some more, do some art, play a game, play some music, call a friend and actually talk with them, etc.).  They ask a million annoying questions, mostly meant to either pass the time and at least draw you into their frustration, or aiming at the possibility that they will wear us down and we’ll give in and let them watch some more addictive games or TV.

So, what to do?  One potential strategy is to do nothing.  If you get involved with what you have to do, you become boring to engage, and eventually they will stare at the ceiling for awhile and when that gets unbearably boring they may find a book and start reading.  Think back to the old old days, when kids had little more than some twine and and old tin can and they would make a primitive phone out of it.  Left with no option but imagination, kids will eventually find some way to amuse themselves… it’s just very trying to weather the de-tox as they wean from the electronic—even if it’s just for the evening.

So, let’s dedicate today to supporting each other as parents to know that even though our approval rating in the eyes of our kid may go way down when we set and hold a limit, our actual effectiveness as parents may be going up at the same time.  And if you have the time and energy, and only after the kids are doing anything resembling independent non-electronic functioning, you might further reinforce their good feelings that last by offering to pull away from your own electronics (as all us bloggers might admit, can be difficult in its own right) and play a non-electronic game with them, or read (depending on their age and openness) or just hang out and listen to them gripe, complain and eventually even get to talking about themselves, life and perhaps joining us in our honest questions about how and why things are as they are, and how we each might like to be, feel and act… if things were to somehow become more to all of our liking.

Namaste, Bruce


One Response to “When kids don’t know what to do with themselves”

  1. Laurie Says:

    Bruce this was a great one. So true and I LOVE the electronic breast because that is what it is…for both of us. We’ve been playing board games at night and he’s even taken me up on a game of chess every now and then. But I do find myself counting on his electronics. “Oh he’s going to play for 20 minutes I can get a quick meditation in or I can answer some emails”. I worry that he doesn’t know how to amuse himself for very long without a cord/battery attached. Thank you,

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