Make sure to leave some time for children's boredom to blossom this summer holiday
The summer holidays have arrived in South Yorkshire, and – along with the hit-and-miss weather, and seasonal mark-up in prices- I’m feeling the pressure to be a summer super-mum.
You know the type: she creates homemade organic lunches, favours indoor craft projects over the TV, and carries a Mary Poppins-bag of items everywhere she goes, ready to whip out suncream/plasters/juice/colouring books at the drop of a hat.
Now I love my daughter more than anything, but super-mum I am not. I am working-mum. Lunch is often a plate of whatever we have on hand, and I have in the past been guilty of turning the TV on or forking over the iPad to keep her occupied if I’m trying to finish up a task in peace.
The summer brings with it a whole new set of pressures, as the long school holiday stretches out like a void, demanding to be filled with educational activities. Long gone are the days when mums would open the kitchen door and send their little ones off to play in the great outdoors, not expecting to see them again until dusk. I remember filling countless hours as a kid playing in the mud with my brother at the bottom of our garden. We’d collect sticks to build dens, or get out our spades and see if we could dig through to Australia before dark. Any mention of boredom was met with the encouragement to ‘go and find something to do’ - which we always did. These days parents seem to think it is their job to provide constant entertainment. But the truth is that those long summer days, alone in my room trying find things to do, were when I discovered my love of reading and, eventually, writing. I read once that boredom is the inspiration for motivation. Surely if we overfill our children’s time in an effort to stop them being bored, we’re potentially robbing them of the opportunity to find things that interest them, and explore them in their own way.
So this summer, in between the lovely activities you have planned, make sure you also leave them some time for rolling around in the mud and playing alone in their room. You never know when boredom could blossom into inspiration.