We love our kids. We want them to be happy, to be smart and to feel loved.
But we also want them to be independent and self-sufficient - at least I do.
This desire to make sure my children can function without me likely stems from my upbringing - I was the baby by nearly 10 years, born to parents in their 40s, who worked from home. I was constantly in my mom's office asking her to play with me or saying "I'm bored," to which she would reply with, "Go read a book," or "I was not put on this earth to be your entertainment," and then she'd send me on my way.
Sometimes, when I told my parents I was bored, they'd find something for me to do. And it was never quite as fun as I'd hoped (cleaning my room, doing the dishes and weeding the garden weren't what I'd had in mind!).
It was hard to understand that "tough love" concept as a kid, but trust me when I say that as an adult I've thanked her for not catering to my every need as a child. When my friends weren't available, I would play outside, read books, listen to music and cook (among other things), completely by myself.
Which brings me back to the point. I want my kids to learn that same type of self-sufficience, which I feel is even more difficult in today's world of instant gratification and technology. It's like, if the iPad were to run out of battery life, would our 11-year-old survive the car trip? Would we?
In the wee hours of the morning last week, I was on Pinterest and stumbled across something brilliant - the answer to teaching our kids to find their own fun (or else!).
It's called "The Bored Jar."
Ours is a vintage blue mason jar, adorned with a blue bow. It looks unassuming, but inside it's full of things that will make kids think twice about saying those two little words. Things like clean your room, wash the windows, vacuum the carpets, sweep, mop and scrub the toilets can all be found neatly folded on a piece of paper.
I also added some creative ideas, such as "Plan tonight's dinner and cook it." And just to show that I'm not a complete fun-sucker, I put in others like, "Go get ice cream" and "Go out to a movie."
We told our 11-year-old the concept behind the jar and after a few hours of staring at it, he decided to test his luck. He pulled out "Clean the windows." To our surprise, he didn't complain. In fact, he willingly pulled four other cards that day and eventually ended up making a burrito dinner for the whole family with a smile on his face.
We're only a week in with our "Bored Jar" system, but everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. I'll keep you posted.
Cheers to self-sufficiency!
It\'s like, if the iPad were to run out of battery life, would our 11-year-old survive the car trip? Would we?