12 Boredom-Blasting Tips for Parents

Terry Matlen, ACSW Health Guide
  • In my post, "ADHD and Guilt: How to Handle Parenting and Boredom", I discussed the often unspoken feelings parents with ADHD have about how certain aspects of parenting can be hopelessly boring. Playing with your child can be particularly challenging if you, like me, absolutely hate most children's games, movies and TV shows. But yet, you do want to connect with your children and have fun with them. But if your ADHD causes you to nod out when the Barbies come out, or if you're inches away from punching out Barney on the TV screen, consider these activities to help you enjoy free time with your child.

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    1. Recognize that at times, you need to negotiate activities with your child in order to connect with her. If you can't tolerate reading the same book 3 times in one night, offer to read one plus one of your choosing, or rotate every other night with her choice, then yours.
    2. Consider shortening the time that you play. If an hour of playing Life puts you over the top, play for 1/2 hour.
    3. Take breaks every 15 minutes or so, then return to the activity.
    4. Come up with creative ideas for activities that you both would enjoy and write them down, so that you don't get stuck doing the same thing day after day.
    5. Consider engaging your child in activities you might not have thought would be age appropriate, but gearing it to her level. Example- reading the newspaper together (and of course, choosing topics that are kid-friendly). Children are never too young to learn about the environment, social issues, etc.
    6. If you are more of a hyperactive, impulsive type, look for physical outlets like playing catch, bike riding, etc. This is a win-win situation, as it will also increase your activity level and improve your and your child's health.
    7. Reminisce about the games you loved as a child and introduce your child to them. These might hold your attention longer and will offer your child some insight as to what you were like at his age.
    8. Make it a family affair! Engage the whole family in board games, outdoor activities, and the like. When reading, give each child the opportunity to read aloud, then ask questions about what was read and incorporate it into their real lives, i.e. "how would YOU have handled that situation?"
    9. Find non-traditional ways to entertain and teach your child in ways that are engaging for all. Role playing, acting out historical or mythical stories can be creative and fun.
    10. If you hate card and board games, purchase a book on how to do card and magic tricks. These are often fun for all ages.
    11. Find the hidden artist in all of you. Gather fabric scraps, buttons, ribbon, etc. and design wardrobes for dolls and stuffed animals. Make a memory jar- fill a jar with objects your child loves and decorate the top, then label it with her name and date.
    12. Most kids love to cook. Spend time in the kitchen and work towards putting together your own family cookbook. Sampling each item is fun for both child and parent.

    Remember, it's not WHAT you do with your child, it's spending time with him to connect in positive ways.


Published On: April 03, 2008