Posted in getting along

What to do when you hear "I'm bored!"

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 13 January 2015
It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling as though you need to try to think of solutions or become 'the entertainment' for your children when you inadvertently hear the dreaded phrase, 'I'm bored' or worse, experience what they actually start getting up to when boredom sets in, the fights, the mess, the frustration. Following are some ideas to help you with your bored children that are designed to stop you getting sucked into coming up with endless ideas, or spending buckets of cash keeping them entertained.

Some ideas to help:

1. Computers, video games and T.V are great, they can be educational and can teach hand-eye co-ordination, but there is a down side. They are actually passive activities that limit creativity. Have you noticed your children will misbehave straight after they finish watching TV or playing on the computer? This is often because their brains are having trouble transitioning from passive to active. They might not be bored; their brain just needs a re-boot. Get your children into the routine of jumping on the trampoline, running around the yard, doing star jumps etc for a few minutes after a passive activity. They will be more likely to be able to think of something to do themselves then.

2. In the mornings or at the beginning of each week, brainstorm activities together that they can do when they are bored. Get them to write a list or draw pictures illustrating the ideas. When they come to you to say they are bored, get them to check the list and choose something from there.

3. Listen, and acknowledge that you have heard what they are saying, without trying to fix it for them. Say, 'I'm sorry that you are bored. Let me know what you come up with to do.' Or ' I understand that, I feel bored sometimes myself.

4. Give them choices, such as, 'You can continue to be bored or find something to do.'

5. Say that you would be very happy to show them how to vacuum, clean the car, wipe the ledges etc. Maybe they will want to, or maybe they will get as far away as possible and find something much more attractive to do.

6. Be realistic, nobody is suggesting that children should be left to their own devices the entire holidays, have a routine, one that balances:

Time for household jobs
Time for spending with you when you need to get things done, such as grocery shopping
Time for playing together (spending quality time)
Time for organized activities/ time with friends that they can become engaged in
Time to be independent (but not Bored!).

Posted in: Saying no to children Children not listening to instructions parenting tips dealing with disappointments activities for kids what to do with bored children grumpy children getting along  

Some ideas in case you have run out of things to do with the kids this holidays.....

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 6 January 2015

Every-one looks forward to the holidays but the idea of keeping the kids busy and out of trouble can be extremely daunting, and stressful on the purse strings! Following, is an idea to help you maintain some structure, which most kids need, as well as some activity ideas and sites to help you enjoy your time at home with the kids without having to strain your brain every day.

Daily planner idea

Each day at breakfast (or the night before, whatever suits your family) take the time to plan your day. It might take a while the first day, but once you get into the habit, it shouldn't take long at all.

1. Write a list of all the things you need to do each day, such as eating times, jobs, visits to the shops/ family/friends houses, baths, feeding the dog. Remember to include the things you need to do as well.

2. Organise the day into parts. Include the things you do each day, time for active activities, time for passive, or quiet activities, and time for activities that you do together. Try to have a  quiet activity follow  active or physical activities so that your children do not get over stimulated (and vice versa).

3.  Discuss, or write down the activities that you could do in each part of the day. This way, you won't feel pressure to try and think up something amazing that is the answer to everybody's dreams on the spot, when they ask 'what can I do now?' You might want to cut up your list, throw it in a jar and get the kids to pick out an activity each.

Some notes about different activity types during the day.

Unstructured and quite time encourage boredom inspired resourcefulness.
While many parents are quite fearful of child directed play these days, because they worry it equals children getting up to mischief, it is extremely important for learning how to apply rules, learn  what is 'fair' and discover how others might see things differently. Those loud arguments about whether an out of bounds ball was actually out of bounds actually serve a purpose.

Children also need time to stop and stare. The ability to take pleasure and interest in their own ideas and imagination requires practice. Looking out the window has its benefits in developing creativity and resourcefulness. For example, A.A. Milne wrote a poem, "Waiting at the Window,"  in which the narrator names two drops of rain, then creates a pretend drama as they make their way to the bottom. Such suspense!

If you let your children  know that a part of the day is going to be set aside for independent play and quiet time then you are setting up the expectation that they can do it with-out getting themselves into trouble, or coming to you whinging about being bored. Allotting the time, and letting them know what it is for, does two things.
1. It stops children from thinking this is a 'nothing to do' time and that just because nothing has been organised for them, they must be bored.
2. It puts some responsibility back on to them to entertain themselves. Children actually thrive on a bit of responsibility. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.
This is the time where they can organise their own activities, invent games, play in the sandpit / toy room, draw pictures, play with the dog, read, think and dream.

Time spent together

When you make your plan, it becomes obvious to everyone how much time you spend together, involved in activities. It is really good for children to be able to see this, as they often take for granted the times that you are spending with them, but they sure notice if you are doing your own thing and they can certainly let you know that this is not to their liking! This is not because children are selfish, they just need things pointed out to them sometimes because they just don't know any better. Don't let them 'guilt' you into giving up all your time to play with them. Using your daily plan, you can now say to them, 'When you have finished your play time, then it is time for us to play a game/ do some cooking'. Remember, if they pester you, the 'together time' can always be reduced. Alternatively, if you can see they are making a big effort to 'stick to the plan' the together time can be made to seem more exciting and special.

The main points

1. Plan your days, it helps you stay on track with the things you have to do as well.
2. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to entertain your children all day, especially with expensive trips, encourage resourcefulness.
3. Do try to allow time for physical activity each day. Taming children with excess stored energy can be stressful!
4. Break up quiet activities and active activities so that your children do not get over or under stimulated.
5. Don't feel as though you have to stick to the structure and the allotted times rigidly, think of the plan as something that is there as support, if you need it.

Useful Websites - an American site, but it has a pretty good list of activity ideas Kids Pack packs that arrive on your doorstep already packed full of activities kids can do while travelling - TODDLER TRICKS gives the parents of toddlers a whole box of on-line tricks that they can use to have happy, healthy fun-times with their toddler every day. They all cost nothing, or next to nothing and have been tried and tested on real live toddlers!  Toddler Tricks is delivered by a weekly blog which you can subscribe to through Facebook, by email or Twitter.  If you know the parent of a toddler, or are one yourself, then you are going to love Toddler Tricks. COME CHECK OUR TRICKS OUT!

Activity ideas

(If you have any other favourites, please let me know and I'll add them to the list)
1. Make play dough.
2. Learn magic tricks together and put on a show.
3. Create awards at
4. Make bubbles.
5. Have a photo taking contest. Share cameras.
6. Sign up for a walk or run for a cause.
7. Write letters to soldiers.
8. Go to the library and take out books, rent books on tape and movies.
9. Have colouring contests.
10. Plan a picnic indoors.
11. Have breakfast food for dinner.
12. Hold cooking classes in your own kitchen, invite friends.
13. Share favourite birthday and holiday stories.
14. Rent dance videos and hold a dance contest.
15. Create books using pictures from magazines.
16. Visit nursing homes, bring musical instruments and put on a show.
17. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
18. Make cupcakes and have a decorating party.
19. Download free e-books.
20. Hold a family game night.
21. Visit the zoo.
22. Design a family website.
23. Fill with family pictures and stories.
24. Go rollerblading.
25. Attend free festivals.
26. Attend free concerts.
27. Press flowers and make cards.
28. Decorate thank-you notes, write messages inside, put stamps on envelopes
they will be ready to go as needed.
29. Decorate placemats on construction paper and cover with contact paper.
30. Play charades.
31. Decorate small notebooks and begin a daily journal.
32. Organize dresser drawers.
33. Clean bedrooms.
34. Draw pictures and mail to other family members.
35. Finger paint with shaving foam.
36. Collect rocks and paint them.
37. Tie dye T-shirts and matching socks
38. Share daydreams.
39. Rent a yoga video for kids.
40. Rent dance videos and have a contest after practicing.
41. Make a bird feeder.
42. Wash the family cars together.
43. Make macaroni jewellery and art.
44. Visit playgrounds and local parks.
45. Visit a working farm.
46. Take nature walks.
47. Go fishing.
48. Arrange photo albums.
49. Play torch tag.
50. Practice musical instruments.
51. Do brain teasers.
52. Trace cookie cutters, decorate and cut out.
53. Write stories about past family events you have in photo albums.
54. Play card games.
55. Decorate clay pots.
56. Plant flowers in the decorated pots.
57. Do jigsaw puzzles.
58. Sleep outside under the stars.
59. Research a new hobby at the library.
60. Play a family memory game. ie What are the name of your great-grandparents?
61. Make a collage of what you are thankful for.
62. Make paper bag puppets.
63. Write love and appreciation letters to each other.
64. Cut out coupons together.
65. Read to each other from joke books.
66. Make friendship pins.
67. Make potato stamp art.
68. Play scrabble.
69. Do science experiments.
70. Create a secret family code.
71. Plan next summer's holiday
72. Play indoor golf.
73. Play broom ball.
74. Practice and become good at hackey sack.
75. Each child collects things they don't use anymore. Play bingo and choose things for prizes.
76. Have a fashion show.
77. Study a topic and hold a debate.
78.  Visit a farmer's market.
79. Visit a flea market.
80. Visit an auction.
81. Watch a sporting event you've never seen before.
82. Learn how to use a compass and practice your skills.
83. Try to break a world record.
84. Play Frisbee
85. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Posted in: parenting tips activities for kids getting along  

The secret of life is letting go

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 5 March 2014
And insight number 9 from Dr Stephen Cowan is:


Life is a process of constantly giving way. Things pushed past their prime transform into something else. Just as spring gives way to summer, so is each stage of development a process of letting go. Crawling gives way to walking. Babbling gives way to speaking. Childhood gives way to adolescence. By breathing in, you breathe out. By eating, you poop.

Each season, each stage, each little rhythm of our life is a matter of letting go. This allows us to get rid of what we don't need to make room in our lives for new information. Learning to let go is not always easy and each child has his own adaptive style and timing. Nature favours diversity. Remember to honour your child’s unique nature. This is what my book Fire Child Water Child is all about.

Perhaps the most important way children teach me how to let go is in the way they play. Playing means letting go of our inhibitions; it frees us up and allows us not to take ourselves too seriously.

Posted in: dealing with disappointments getting along  

How you and your child can cope with bullying

Posted by Dr Kathrine on 8 January 2014

Here is the second article on how to cope with bullying written by Dr Kathrine for Drynites Australia. They have asked me to share them with you. I was very happy to do so, please let me know if you are finding them useful as they have many to share.

Spotting the signs

Children can go to great lengths to hide the fact that they are being bullied.  They may do this because they are embarrassed or believe if they tell someone the situation will only get worse.  So how can you tell if your child is being bullied?
Keep in mind not all children who are being bullied will show warning signs and some of these behaviours may also be indicative of something else going on in your child’s life:

  • Look for changes in behaviour, an outgoing child who becomes withdrawn, a child who had achieved nighttime continence may start wetting the bed, or changes in eating habits
  • Increase in aggressive behaviours or bullying of siblings
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Increase in physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches, or pretending to be sick so they can stay home from school
  • Lost or destroyed property
  • Nightmares or sleep disturbances
  • Feelings of helplessness or low self-esteem
  • School avoidance or lack of interest in school work
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Reduced social contact with friends or loss of friendships

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

  •  Find out as much as you can about the situation (who is involved, how often it occurs, who knows about the bullying) then reassure your child that this is not their fault (bullying can be like a form of brainwashing where children begin to feel that they some how deserve what is happening).
  • Contact the preschool or school.  Ask to see the bullying policy and get the school to clearly outline how the situation will be managed.  Ensure that there are regular follow-up meetings until you have reached a positive resolution.
  • Get your child involved in activities that encourage independence, assertiveness and healthy peer relationships (e.g., sporting teams, cubs or scouts, dance, drama club).
  • Encourage your child to behave assertively in threatening situations by teaching them specific skills such as responding to name calling (having ready and rehearsed responses is always helpful), making assertive statements (“That’s fine if you think that but I do not agree”), and getting help from their peers (it is important that children feel they have someone who they can count on).

Encouraging your child to stand up for others

When victims of bullying do tell someone, it is most often their friends, followed by their parents, with teachers often being the last to know. Children who are witnesses to bullying are referred to as bystanders.  Bystanders have three main roles, they can assist and encourage the bully (bully assistant), they can passively watch the bullying (witnesses), or they can actively intervene to support the victim and try to stop the bullying (defenders).  Bullying, when confronted with a caring and responsive peer group is significantly reduced.

How can you better prepare your child to help and support victims or bullying? 

  •  Discuss with your child what they think bullying is and get them to think about how the victim feels when other children are mean to them.
  • Consider what forms of discouragement would be appropriate without making the situation worse or putting your child at risk.
  • Rehearse or role-play possible bullying scenarios.
  • Discuss how your child may get other children to show their disapproval with the bullying.
  • Talk about safe and unsafe situations, helping you child know when it is important to involve a teacher.
Posted in: being assertive bullying parenting tips anxiety stressed children getting along  

How to help your children deal with disappointment, worries and stress

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 20 August 2013

No matter what, all children will encounter situations which are not to their liking. Knowing how to handle disappointments, stress, overwhelm and worry is a very big advantage when you are growing up as it can greatly assist in developing inner strength (otherwise known as resilience).

Following are some ideas to help children learn to distance themselves from the problem:

1. Stop the thoughts: Say to your child who is becoming overwhelmed by worries or a disappointment to stop thinking about it for a while. You can tell them to put them in an imaginary box for a while, let them know they can think about them again after morning tea or the next day.

2. Help them to start another activity that will distract them: go to the park, get active or read a book.

3. Take a break: If it is study, homework, an annoying sibling or anything else that they can take a break from, let them get away from the situation for a little while and then come back to it later. Help them find a special place to go for their breaks. It could be their room, sitting under a tree in the garden or a run around the yard.

4. Be on their page and be their positive side for them: Let them know that you understand they are feeling bad, and that you know they will feel better soon.
In my next few blogs I will be sharing some more ideas relating to helping children manage anxiety, worries and stress.

Posted in: dealing with disappointments worried children stressed children getting along  
< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >