Summer vacation starts next week. Adelaide has a half-day Thursday, then she's all mine for three whole months.
I can tell other children are also on the brink of freedom; Pinterest is full of fun summer activities for kids. There are some really good ones on there. There are also some not so great ideas.
One that I keep seeing goes by several different names, but the most popular appears to be "The Bored Jar." The description usually reads something like, "The answer to all those times your kids come to you saying they're bored! 100 amazing fun educational activities printed on slips of paper! Just have your child pull one out when they're bored and let the fun begin!!!"
So here's my question: Who's brilliant idea was it to start rewarding kids for whining?
I realize that the jar is not for whining; it's for boredom. But when was the last time a kid came up to you and said, "Pardon me, but I find myself with nothing to do at this moment. Could I possibly infringe upon your boundless creativity to find something for me to do, please?"
No, they say, "I'm boooooooored!" in the whiniest, most annoying voice possible.
I believe that with kids, "I'm bored" directly translates to "Entertain me." And guess what? It is not your job to entertain your children.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge advocate for spending lots of time getting down on the floor and playing with your kids, and you know how I feel about books. I feel like every family should have stacks of them throughout the house, just waiting to be read intermittently throughout the day.
But you should not have to fill every moment of every day with some super-fun interactive experience specifically designed for your child. Kids need time away from adults to exercise their imaginations and learn how to do things for themselves.
I suggest you do what my mom did when summer vacation lost its luster for my sisters and me, and we were tempted to let the "B" word slip. In our house, the merest hint of the word "bored" immediately resulted in an extra chore. "Bored" meant folding an extra load of laundry or organizing a kitchen cabinet or picking bag worms off the trees.
So go ahead. Make a special jar. But please don't fill it with things like "Paint a masterpiece!" or "Have a water balloon fight!" Fill it instead with "Scrub the toilet," or "Turn over the compost heap."
Now that's my kind of Bored Jar.