Do your teens whine about being bored? As a parent, that can certainly get on your nerves – you probably don’t remember the last time you were bored! But bored teens are more than an annoyance. Studies have shown that when young people don’t have anything to do, they are more likely to do something destructive, or a least not very constructive. So let’s look at some ideas for getting your teen out of the boredom blues.
1. Post a list
In a visible area (such as the ever-popular refrigerator), you could post a list of at least ten activities your teen likes to engage in. You can make this list together in a brainstorming session, or you can make the list yourself as you observe the things your teen likes to do. In fact, it may surprise your child to see the things he or she has been doing and enjoying all along, and it will help score points for you, the parent – you noticed something about them! Teens, who often complain about feeling misunderstood, may appreciate that.
You could also ask your teen to write such a list him/herself. Regardless of how you come up with the activities, it’s a helpful reference for when boredom strikes.
2. Learn something new
Interest in the world around you is a great cure for boredom. Teach your teens that there is never an excuse for boredom because the world is just that fascinating. This can be a really helpful life skill! There’s always something new to do or explore. Pay attention to your teen’s interests, and make suggestions along those lines. Challenge them without making it too hard – remember, you want to incite interest, not overwhelm them with a big project.
Maybe your teen is interested in the environment and green living – have him or her gather some friends for a clean-up day in your neighborhood, or come up with creative ways to save energy. If you have a science lover, think up some theories and questions that can be answered with an experiment. Is your teen artistic? There are all kinds of fascinating subjects out there just waiting to be studied in pencil, ink, paint, clay, or whatever medium your teen enjoys.
3. Have a boredom retreat
Sometimes, a new surrounding can really help get teens out of the boredom cycle. Is there a coffee shop, book store, or other nearby place where your teen could go hang out safely? It can really help to have a place to go to get away for a bit. If your teen is not old enough to go by him or herself, you could accompany your teen and stay in the background, or drop him or her off and go run an errand.
You could also have a boredom retreat in your own home. Even in a small home, you can make your teen’s bedroom into an area that is conducive to learning and exploration. Set things up so that your teen can dig into his or her interests in his or her own special place where the art supplies are always out, the electronic gizmos are ready, or the books and journals are always open.