As a child I learned VERY early on to NEVER say "I'm bored". We'd get a job handed to us in no time flat! That didn't mean we never got bored - it just mean we quit verbalizing it.

What if, instead of punishing our kids' boredom and putting a negative spin on it we prevented the boredom in the first place? I've heard it said, "Boredom is a sign of an unchallenged mind." If that's the truth - and I believe it is - can we give our kids challenges that will be fun, rewarding and time consuming to prevent boredom?

Here are a few "boredom buster" ideas to get your wheels turning:

Boredom Buster #1 - Let your child be chef once a week! Have them participate in the entire process. Give them a stack of recipe books and let them pick out what they'd like to make for their special meal. Have them make a grocery list. Bring them along on the grocery shopping trip to pick out the ingredients their meal calls for. If they are capable, let them do it alone. If they're a little too young to use the stove unsupervised ask your child if they'd appreciate any help with the process and exactly which part they'd like your help with.

Your child will love being in charge. A word of caution - if you see something going awry with their cooking rather than telling them they're doing it wrong "Can I make a suggestion?" is always a better approach.

How many kids do you have? If each one took on one meal/week how much will that take off your plate (pun intended)? If you're like me you'll LOVE the freedom of a couple nights off of "supper duty" each week.

Boredom Buster #2 - Hire your child as your family "event planner". Have your child plan your next family night from start to finish. Give them a budget to work within and have them go to work at researching potential outings such as community events, restaurants, museums, hikes, zoos, or unique things to do while staying home together. Imagine how great they'll feel and how much they'll look forward to the event that they've planned for the whole family! Best of all, how much time will this "boredom buster" take for them to accomplish? That's how many hours of avoiding sibling squabbles?

Boredom Buster #3: I remember my mom giving me my own special area in the garden that I got to plan, plant and tend each year. I took pride in it and in turn I'm sure my mom saw it "taking care of me" too! I was more eager to water and weed that area than the rest of the garden because it was MINE. I felt the pride of ownership of a little area that was all my own. Is there anything more therapeutic than being able to watch things grow from a seed underground into something bearing flowers or vegetables? It's an awe-inspiring experience for kids. If you don't have a garden spot in your yard a couple of window boxes will do the trick.

Notice the commonalities in all 3 examples I've given. They all include something your child can take pride and ownership in. They also help your children develop valuable life skills and become more confident children. In every case you not only end up with a child who is busy and less bored- you'll end up with less on your plate while you hand extra challenges and responsibility over to your child. Is that great or is that great?

Author's Bio: 

Susan L. Paterson invites you to visit her website If you wish parenting were simpler you'll love her blog. It's overflowing with "simple parent strategies" that will help improve your relationship with your kids. While you're there sign up for a free "simple parent strategy" to be e-mailed weekly to help simplify parenting.