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To not put up with "moooom I'm bored"?

(61 Posts)
jayisforjessica Sun 16-Oct-16 03:42:56

DS has a tendency to get bored on Sunday afternoons. Once we're done with church, there isn't (in his opinion) a lot to do. He isn't very sporty and we only allow an hour of video game time a day.

I've been giving him assignments, outside of his schoolwork/homework. It takes me a little bit to make them up, but it gives him something to do with his afternoon.

This week's "assignment" was to choose a book he's already read, and write a letter to his teacher, recommending the book as one she might like to read (with reasons why). DS has spent the afternoon out in the back garden with pencil and paper and was happily occupied for two hours, and has come back inside with what I think is actually a really good letter.

AIBU? Responding to boredom with a suggestion of something constructive to do isn't unreasonable, I don't think... but I could be wrong. He's recently told me that none of his friends' parents give them assignments, but he's also never told me he doesn't want to do the little tasks I set him (he seems to quite enjoy having some direction on a Sunday afternoon) and if he really didn't want to do one, I certainly wouldn't force it.

geekymommy Sun 16-Oct-16 04:13:58

I don't think you're being unreasonable. In fact, I wouldn't think you were being unreasonable if you gave him chores to do if he tells you he's bored. That's what my mother would have done.

ittooshallpass Sun 16-Oct-16 04:21:59

How old is DS? My only comment is that he needs to learn to entertain himself. He knows you'll create something for him to do so he's got lazy and relies on you for entertainment.

I'd want to see him create his own activities.

Kittykat1976 Sun 16-Oct-16 04:22:24

Oh how dull! It's Sunday afternoon.. he should be having fun. He has the rest of his life to do homework. Take him out somewhere or let him play!

user1476140278 Sun 16-Oct-16 05:06:05

Writing a letter to his teacher?


Can't he play out? Meet a friend? Watch TV?

MaitlandGirl Sun 16-Oct-16 05:13:27

Do you have the time to teach him to cook on a Sunday afternoon?

When mine were younger they used to help with the weekly meal planning and recipe development on a Sunday afternoon (if we weren't watching TV together or gardening).

How old is your son?

jayisforjessica Sun 16-Oct-16 05:35:24

He's twelve.

It's not like I have him sitting and writing every week! But when he can't entertain himself, and he comes to me saying he's booooooored, well, these are the kinds of ideas mom comes up with. If he didn't like them, he'd find a way to entertain himself pretty quickly.

Kuriusoranj Sun 16-Oct-16 05:50:37

2 separate issues I think. I hate the "I'm bored" and we don't allow it. Bored people get a list of chores to do in our house.

On the other hand - I do think setting assignments like this is a bit ... unusual. Firstly, you're not letting him learn how to entertain/occupy himself if you're giving him things to do all the time. I'm sure he does appreciate you setting him tasks - if he hasn't learnt how to occupy himself. Secondly- dress it up however you like, that's extra homework and they're children for so short a time. At 12, he's nearly at the end of the time he has to just be a kid, and you're setting him extra homework instead of encouraging him to play. It doesn't have to be video games or nothing - what about art? Construction? Cooking as someone mentioned up thread? Anything other than schoolwork.

Optimist3 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:04:44

personally I let my kids go through the 'boredom threshold'. They eventually move into non structured creative free play with random items or just their imagination. Or alternatively they will entertain themselves in other ways, by reading a book. Learning to entertain themselves is a vital skill and positive long term.

Do the screen/video time last thing after he's played al afternoon. The thing is, screens offer fast and furious engagement and when you turn the screen off, nothing will seem quite as engaging/brilliant for a good while. The bordom threshold is harder to go through after super exciting screen time.

Could you discover something (free) immediately after church. So some conkers or needing to move the sofa cushions and creating a cushion tower. Sometimes little things can trigger big free playing episodes.

Admittedly I will ask my kids to find a recipe they want to cook, check the cupboards for ingredients, buy the missing ingredients and then cook, then eat something. But for me that's about life skills and loving food. I wouldn't want a mini school set up as they cover that at school.

Optimist3 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:06:22

My kids do the whole ingredient locating/buying/cooking process.

IfartInYourGeneralDirection Sun 16-Oct-16 06:06:41

God that sounds dull as fuck. Take him to a park, something active or leave him to it and ignore the whines.
You dont have to fill every minute of his day

Optimist3 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:08:23

If he's 12 it won't be conkers or cushion towers but slightly more sophisticated things

seven201 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:10:28

Do you ever go out on Sunday afternoons? Meet up with friends? Church then an assignment doesn't sound very fun to me.

frikadela01 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:29:58

I'm sorry but that sounds like extra homework.
Agree with others about just leaving him to it. He'll eventually find something to do independently. When I was a kid Sunday afternoons were about playing out with your friends until you got shouted for dinner then afterwards we'd watch a film, or shock horror play on the computer.

Optimist3 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:43:13

Or use it for family time as church isn't. A nice family walk or bike ride.

NattyTile Sun 16-Oct-16 06:47:14

Presumably you don't force him to do them, these are things he's happy to do to fill the time? My child likes to play schools, wants me to set maths problems or give her lists of vocab to write a story. She doesn't do it all the time and I certainly don't insist she does it, it's just one of the things she chooses to do with her free time.

But I'm afraid that in this house "I'm booooored" gets met with "Oh good, the hall needs hoovering/washing needs sorting/Windows need cleaning!" Evil mother clearly. Sometimes they're bored enough to do it! Other times they decide what they want to do for themselves.

In my childhood, Sunday afternoons were for a long walk, and also when we did baking for the week. Something special for Sunday tea (pikelets or something with cream or whatever really), something portable (fruit loaf or flapjack type thing) for packed lunches, and something tasty for the biscuit tin after school. We don't need quite so many things baking here these days, but we do usually make something at the weekends for the week ahead.

Used to work with a police officer who spent his free time knitting jumpers for his wife and children. Don't spose your boy would be interested in learning something like that?

KC225 Sun 16-Oct-16 06:47:53

I think all kids get bored at some point. I remember complaining of being bored to my mum and that was back on the day of 3 channels, no mobiles, computers or mountains of toys. My mum used to say 'only boring people get bored' and tell me to find something to do. I wouldn't worry about it, you don't have to entertain a 12 year old 24 hours a day.

jayisforjessica Sun 16-Oct-16 06:51:33

I certainly don't force him to do anything, as I said. I make suggestions like this, and then he's off and away. He spent the afternoon writing, but he was out in the sunshine doing it, and he could have stopped any time he wanted.

Ah well. Different strokes for different folks?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 16-Oct-16 07:01:34

I think if that is how he spends most Sundays it seems a bit.. boring. We tend to go for a walk, do some sewing, baking, or we watch a film together, play music (quite a lot of piano practice is done on a Sunday), or just play together. This afternoon why don't you both google things for teenagers to do while bored and get a long list together that he might like to do. We have had rainy list, dry list and indoor list on different colours so they can pick as appropriate. Cut it up and put it in a jar and whenever he feels bored he goes to the jar for some ideas.

Some ideas to get him going:
Stop start animation
Writing Christmas/ birthday list
Washing car (for small financial reward)
Going for walk
Bake a cake.

Then if he says he is bored direct him to the jar, he will either do the thing he picks out or something he makes up himself.

At 12 he should be able to self direct his time more. Only my 7 year old still tries the I'm bored routine (and that is to persuade us to let him play computer games). The assignments are great if he wants to do them but Sunday should also be a day of rest and relaxation, not usually homework. Is he an only child? I can see how you might fall into always occupying an only child when younger but by his age he should be directing much of his leisure time, siblings or no siblings.

IamCarcass Sun 16-Oct-16 07:02:29

I know another kid that loved doing these kind of projects. Generally only when bored but sometimes they were requested. Often would require research online (screen time by stealth?)
YANBU, whatever works for you.

Boomerwang Sun 16-Oct-16 07:27:26

Is it a mental stimulation thing then, since he seems so amenable to writing letters to his teacher?

These sound boring to an adult but can be attractive to kids: putting things in order. Alphabeticize the bookcase / CD / DVD case. Go outside and find a stone, then find a bigger one, and a bigger one and then line them up in order somewhere out of the way. Find an item in the house/garden which matches each colour of the rainbow. Find a four leaf clover. Play pokemon Go.

I'm a bit odd though. When I was bored as a kid I asked my mum for a pot of Trill bird seed. I would shell each tiny seed for ages...

user1474781546 Sun 16-Oct-16 07:29:51

*Once we're done with church, there isn't (in his opinion) a lot to do. He isn't very sporty and we only allow an hour of video game time a day.
I've been giving him assignments, outside of his schoolwork/homework. It takes me a little bit to make them up, but it gives him something to do with his afternoon. *

Poor kid. Sounds a dreary day.

FrancisCrawford Sun 16-Oct-16 07:31:46

Ah, he's using the infamous "but Xs parents" argument! We've all been there.

I don't think you are being unreasonable to give him these assignments if he willingly accepts them and enjoys them.

At 12 if he says he's bored then giving a constructive task is an excellent way of dealing with it. You deserve some downtime too and he's way past the age where you would directing his play. And learning how to cope with boredom is a very useful life skill.

I'm another one who responded to the familiar cry of "I'm bored" with a list of household tasks. With tidying his bedroom being at the very top of the list. At 12 he should be learning how to do these useful life skills and helping out as a member of the family.

But if it's a nice day then I'd be suggesting he goes on a bike ride, with a route planned to take at least 30 minutes

tibbawyrots Sun 16-Oct-16 07:33:51

I'm a bit confused that a boy of 12 can't entertain himself for a few hours on a Sunday. And some of the activities suggested are more suited to a 2 year old!

J0kersSmile Sun 16-Oct-16 07:34:53

I think that's quite sad.

We do a hobby on Sunday and get back home about half two. I then don't see my dc until tea time. They're out playing on their bikes, climbing a tree, playing football, down the local park or they're playing with tech in one of their mates houses or here.

Why hasn't he got any friends to play with at that age? I also think only having an hour screen time at twelve is slightly ridiculous, let the kid play fgs

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