10 Ways to Keep a Child Busy and Happy
Children get easily bored. It is true that their minds are oceans of imagination and a child can play alone for hours, using just his own creative and symbolical resources, but at some point, as they start getting used to the old games, their inquisitive minds start exploring new possibilities. And when they find deserted areas, then the problems start to appear. “I’m getting bored”, “I don’t have anything to do”, “I want something else”, these are the first signs parents must take into account before the problem gets serious. Why a problem? Because the most natural thing for children nowadays, and unfortunately for the parents too, is to use the TV as a medicine or replacement in lack of a real activity. What most parents forget sometimes, caught in the torrent of life, is that the kids need permanently to be challenged, questioned, stimulated, for them to develop their cognitive, social and emotional skills. Vegetating in front of a TV is not the best thing that can happen to a child, and the feeling of boredom may get chronic. Children usually discover by themselves what they like or they don’t , but most of the times, they need to be guided in order to overcome the boredom and to engage in fun, stimulating activities. So here are some things we can do to help your child to become curious and amused and not get bored or sad.
1. Fuel Their Creativity
Children don’t actually need already established recipes of happiness, but rather need to be guided in finding their own talents. So if this boredom state persists, you can try provoking the little one to express in drawing. Buy pencils, colors, paper, a real artist kit and challenge him to create his own masterpieces. There are tons of books to get inspired from, as drawing is only one piece of the great arts’ puzzle. Origami, building models, using any material around the house to create something, these are as many methods of keeping him busy and creative. If he draws poorly, don’t discourage him, as he will get demotivated and sad. In exchange, offer him as many possibilities in order to find that particular activity that keeps him happy.
2. Keep Them Healthy
A child needs to be healthy, to build significant human relationships and to grow up responsibly. A team sport will help any boy and girl learn about caring and sharing for others, a sense of discipline and a sense of loyalty. Not to mention that going to practice will keep him busy enough to also keep him focused on the things that matter. If you have a real talent in the house, that’s another story, as many children and families trade a normal life for a performance-driven one, but if it’s not the case and you child is playing sports just to be in shape physically and mentally, that is just fine. New worlds and perspectives open up when you spend time with people who share your age and passions and boredom becomes just a temporary feeling in a rainy afternoon.
3. Guide Them to Find a Hobby
It doesn’t matter if it’s music, literature, arts&crafts, debates or scouting. A book club, the school’s band, a workshop or adventure time in the park. If they like what they do, nothing will stop the children for taking part in such activities. Don’t pressure them, though, as it is not absolutely necessary to have him subscribed in 10 different activities and performing with pleasure in none of them. The idea is to keep them happy, not to keep them busy so we could take a breather.
4. Stimulate Their Brain
A child playing is the most beautiful thing in the world. But there are types of play and then are some others. In order to stimulate the child’s intelligence, you as a parent should play along and teach him a things or two. Even computer games are alright if they are used properly and besides the fun, they have also an educational purpose. Puzzles, boardgames, card-games, simple strategy games, all are alright as long as they teach the child how to use vocabulary, space perception, problem solving skills, anticipation, prediction and so on.
5. Befriend Them With Mother Nature
Staying in the house too long may get a child bored and sad. They need to get out and have fun while exploring what nature has to offer. Even if he gets outside often and plays with his friends, you can also plan some trips a little farther from home. Camping, a ride to the mountains, a family vacation at the seaside, an amusement park even, or a trip to another area, these are the things that build up memories in a child and he can live on them for many things after, sustaining his imagination and curiosity.
6. Develop Their Interpersonal Skills
Children are likely to wish for their peers’ company. Not all groups are safe or on your liking, but with a smart approach, a child and furthermore, a teenager, will know how to choose his friends. At an early age though, allow your child to explore other individuals. Don’t refuse him the pleasure of a slumber party, friends coming for dinner, group study, a Halloween party or a masked carnival. A secluded child is an unhappy one and boredom in the lack of friends is extremely painful to a child, so let them have a lot of leisure group activities, they will build his leadership skills, trust, assertive behavior and will teach him a few things about respect and fair-play.
7. Engage Them in Fun Activities Around The House
You don’t have time to play with your child because you are too busy and he is bored or doesn’t have the mood to do anything in particular. This may be a good time to get your child involved in small and fun household activities. Vacuuming is hard but ask him to join you in the kitchen for instance and help you cook dinner. You will see he results later on, when he will become independent, but at this stage, turning a boring cooking moment (even for you) into a fun-time spent with your child, will help you both.
8. Challenge Them on an Intellectual Debate
They don’t have to be Einstein, but they need to develop reasoning, logic and argumentation. So pick a book he likes and start debating on his perspectives on the plot, the character, their emotions, reactions and behavior. Keep him arguing and thus engage his mental and emotional processes in order to give him something to look forward to next time. You can play like this over books, movies or even music. Having a debate program with one of his parents might make the child curious of learning more and keep himself informed.
9. Connect Them to the World
These are not the old times any more when children who got bored took a ball outside and played with it. These are the high-tech modern times and probably your child already has something of a smartphone, a computer or a tablet. Many children know more about the Internet and technology as their parents do and are inclined to use the power of speed information in order to keep themselves amused. This is both good and bad, because as much as this openness to the world is helpful, it is also time consuming, not to mention sometimes dangerous, as the Internet has many dark corners and a child might get exposed by mistake to all sorts of dangers. So if you can’t beat them join them. Show them how the computer and applications work, teach him how to use some programs, how to look for information and how to play. Yes, they might get lost in there, but as much as it may hurt them, a controlled schedule together with pointing out what is fun and useful on the Internet will keep them out of boredom and hopefully, they will also learn something new.
10. Cultivate Their Respect for the World
Children often get bored or sad or start live only in their heads in the lack of a proper knowledge of the outside world. This outside world is composed of people working, other children having problems, other things happening without them knowing it. Parents try to protect their children and keep them in a bubble of happiness, often forgetting that purpose and motivation are the major thing preventing a child to vegetate. Try taking your child at your workplace for a few hours or take him to a guided trip to see how things are made. Challenge him to join a volunteer group and get involved into solving some problem, as minor and easy as it is. Basically, give him a project he’ll love and soon you will find him working on it or coming back to you full of progressive ideas. Children love to be part of something big, even if big means adopting a pet for two weeks before the authorities find that animal a proper family, in case you don’t want to keep it. Purpose, motivation and responsibility, cultivated since early ages, will not only keep boredom away, but they will teach your child some lessons about life and hope and assuming responsibility for the other one.