School’s out. What’s a boy to do?

boy lying in grassWhat will your son do during his school break?

Here in the northern hemisphere, children are already on summer break or will be on break shortly.  In the southern hemisphere, your children will have winter break shortly.  So what are you going to do when you hear, “I’m so bored!”

All of the suggestions depend on the age of your child, of course, but the first step is to limit the time your son spends on the computer and watching TV.  Save electronic amusements for rainy days or super hot days – otherwise, your son should be doing something.

Set aside some time each day to read.  He may need you to read to him, or read with him, but this should not replace your bedtime reading if you are still reading to him then.  This is the time for your son to read the newspaper, a magazine, directions on how to do something, but not necessarily a story.  One way to help your son develop his communication skills is for him to tell you what he read.  He can do this while you are preparing a meal or doing the laundry.

As for laundry, if old enough, your son should be doing his own laundry because he has the time right now.  When he realizes how hard it is to get grass stains out of his shirt, he may be a bit more careful (ok, so I can hope!)

Young children can help with food preparation and older children can be responsible for one meal per week.  They need to plan the menu, determine what needs to be purchased, plan the cooking schedule, and fix dinner.  They should not be responsible for cleaning up this meal.  In our house, the cook does not clean up, that is what those who enjoyed the meal do to thank the cook.

If you have a neighbor who has a wood shop, is a shade-tree mechanic, grows vegetables, or some other handy occupation and your son shows an interest, see if the neighbor will take him on as an apprentice.  This means that your son and the neighbor have an agreement as to how much time will be involved, a general schedule for the activity, and how your son will repay the neighbor for the opportunity.

Boys who are in high school might provide play or sports time one or two afternoons a week for younger children in the neighborhood.   The older boys should do this as a gift to the neighbors to begin with, but as they get more experienced, they might even provide a sports camp.  If your son is involved in this, make sure that he takes a basic first aid course.

Please also remember that your son needs some time to get bored – that is when we do our best thinking.  He needs to learn to appreciate various forms of activity and most importantly, he needs to learn to entertain himself.

If you have any other suggestions, please share with us!