Third Thursday Blog Hop: How Do You Keep Your Kids From Summer Boredom?

Today you get to find encouragement from other moms. That’s what our monthly blog hop is all about!

Our topic is keeping summer boredom at bay. Now I’m the first to say that I think it’s perfectly fine for a kid to be bored and for mom to do nothing about it.  Boredom can spark creativity. It can also influence a child to pick up a book who might otherwise not read. Being bored isn’t a bad thing.

At the same time, moms do need some strategies in their back pocket to keep the kids engaged throughout the summer months.

Several years ago I talked about becoming a “yes” mom. I think this is one of the best summer strategies a mom can have.  The “yes” mom post has become an annual summer post…usually in July because by then we need the reminder to say yes more than we say no.

Be A “Yes” Mom!

Several summers ago my boys ran inside and said, “Mom, it’s so hot outside! Can we see if it’s hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk?”

The practical side of me started to say no, but then I caught myself. What would it hurt for them to try it? Why couldn’t I say yes? Is it “wasting” an egg, or simply using it for a different, but just as valuable, purpose?

After that quick argument in my head, I finally said, “Sure. If you want to try it, go ahead! Just make sure you wash off the sidewalk when you’re done.” They got an egg from the refrigerator and ran out of the house to try their science experiment.

Over 24 years of mothering, I’ve finally learned how to be a “yes” mom more than a “no” mom. It wasn’t an easy transition…but it was an important one. For years my interactions with my kids looked more like this:

“No, you can’t fingerpaint.” (It will make too much of a mess.)

“No, you can’t bake cookies today.” (I just mopped the kitchen floor!)

“No, you can’t have a friend over today.” (I don’t want to go anywhere today and I’d have to go get them.)

“No, you can’t play in the sprinklers.” (I’m not in the mood for wet swimsuits, towels, and grass tracked in the house.)

“No, you can’t go out and play in the snow.” (I don’t want to deal with the snowsuits, boots, gloves, scarves, and hassle of it all.)

Over time, however, I started paying attention to the “no’s” and my reasoning behind them. It usually had something to do with my selfish reasons. I didn’t want to deal with a mess. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. I didn’t want to have more work to do.

That’s not fun to admit, but it was true. My selfishness was robbing my kids of some of the joy of just being kids!

I remember one afternoon many years ago when a couple of the kids asked, “Can we blow bubbles in the house? I initially said no because bubbles have always been an outside activity. But then I thought about my answer. Why couldn’t they blow bubbles in the house? We even have the bubble cups that don’t spill! Why do I always say no so quickly? Finally, I called my kids back into the kitchen and said, “Yes, you can blow bubbles in the house. Have a blast.”

And they did.

And that day I started being more of a “yes” mom, than a “no” mom.

Now I’m not talking here about permissive parenting. I’m not talking about the times that we need to say no because our kids really do need us to set boundaries. I’m talking about the times that I say no out of selfishness, or default, or habit.

Are you looking for ways to beat summer boredom? Try being a “yes” mom!

What about you? What strategies do you use to beat summer boredom?

Click on the links below to find out how other moms get creative in the summer?

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7 Responses to Third Thursday Blog Hop: How Do You Keep Your Kids From Summer Boredom?

  1. Mandy says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Jill~ I find that I have lots of reasons for “no’s”, but you’re right about most of them being selfish… Not so fun to see in print, but a great thing to chew on and allow God to change in me!

  2. Being a “yes” mom is something I have been struggling with lately. But as all of us moms know, someday those messes and little happy squeals will be long gone and we will wish for that time back.

  3. I actually remember this post from the first time it was published. It’s stuck with me. Thank you.

  4. Susan Heim says:

    My first instinct is usually to say “no” to anything messy. Thanks for the reminder that a mess is just a mess, but the memories and things we learn from that mess can last a lifetime!

  5. Thank you so much for this article. I’ve worked with kids for disabilities for years, going into their homes and using motivational play activities to reinforce learning. It is wonderful to see the parent’s transformation as they realize what being a “yes” mom looks like. Simply having an educator there, influences parents to put away their selfishness and focus on the child.

    Only once have I found myself being the “no” person. It was a truly uncomfortable situation saying yes, when feeling no. As an educator in another’s home, I had no choice. As parents, if we truly don’t want the carpet ruined by sudsy little bubbles, go ahead and say…..”no, not inside, but let’s make our own bubble blowers with hangers and make some huge ones outside” or “we can’t do it inside because of the carpet… sorry. Go on out and see if you can blow some bubbles (pick a target) under the picnic table, etc.

    Can I just say, I wish all my Summer’s were like the Summer of a learning child. Filled with discovery and novel ideas – we should let ourselves be inspired too. What can we say yes to ourselves, which would typically be a “no?”

  6. Thanks for this great post. I, too, have had to examine my “no’s” over the years. I’m learning that YES to play; YES to my children’s ideas; YES to possibilities creates a home that is full of creativity and joy. A MESSIER home, no doubt, but a sweeter home indeed.

  7. Hi!
    After reading this post, I have the song “Trading my sorrows: Yes Lord” running through my head. The days when we just scrap all plans and go for whatever makes us soar are the best!! 🙂 Thanks for this energizing post! Blessings!