Don’t Tell Me You Are Bored

It is, in case you haven’t noticed, summer.  With summer comes the absence of school, of a schedule, of a house free of child.  For someone who works from home, this is difficult.

This is the first summer we are spending in Chicago, the first time I do not have family to call on or childcare at my fingertips.  I have enrolled Ellette in a 3 day a week gymnastics camp for the summer, so that I can stay on the schedule at the coffeeshop.  However, even though that gives me plenty of time at home, that is not very productive time.

Ellette is an only child, an only grandchild, and is used to being adored and doted on by those grandparents.  She has always been surrounded by classmates, or visiting family.  I simply do not possess the time (and often patience) to spend every minute of my day with her.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are rough for both of us.  I have deadlines to meet and she has the energy of a 6-year-old.  She cannot stay cooped up in the house all day, I simply do not have the ability to take my work to the park with me.  There are no electrical outlets for my sewing machine.

Today, we walked to the Brothers K Coffeehouse to get out of the house for a moment.  I consider this a somewhat productive venture since we were out of coffee anyway.

While there, I asked Ellette to help me write a list of everything we can do this summer, as well as things she can do by herself.  I stressed (and have been stressing since) that I need uninterrupted time to clean up my studio and work on stock, that I have commissions that need to be completed this week and those are things she cannot help me with.

I know there are parents out there in my situation – a house full of kids for the summer and a fragile sense of sanity to bear them through it.  So, I will share my list with you!

To do together:

  • nature hikes and picnics
  • baking experiments
  • Sidewalk chalk murals
  • Museums and parks

To give yourself a break:

  • Teach your young one(s) how to knit or crochet, and give them little instant-gratification projects.  I gave Ellette some crocheted butterflies my grandmother has made and told her I could teach her how to make them, and she is very excited about it.
  • Painting – still life, abstract, whatever! Set your child up with paints and a smock and tell them to paint whatever comes to mind – what they see in the room, an event or person, or how they are feeling at the moment.
  • Learn to tend a garden – this will get your child outside and learning about the environment.  Kids love to see that their hard work pays off with flowers or vegetables.  You can sit outside with them while they work and put in some valuable knitting time!
  • I have this book called 365 Days of Crafts and it is wonderful.  Inside it’s pages are ideas for everything!
  • Ellette and I collected branches on our walk home from the coffeehouse to make fairy furniture and houses.
  • We have buckets of plastic beads and thread and Ellette has been making her own jewelry.
  • A collection of flower pots, plates, and cups can be painted and put to use.  Children will appreciate having their artwork used around the house.
  • A large collection or books and magazines for the young readers can keep them quietly occupied for hours.  Trips to the library are even more exciting.
  • Ellette likes to draw pictures, write letters, and make cards for our friends and family far away from us.  When she is finished, we put them in an envelope and send them off!  She practices reading and writing while letting loved ones know we’re thinking of them!
  • If it comes down to it, make a list of chores your child(ren) can do unsupervised.  If need be, place a value on each chore, and when the child saves up enough points, they can decide a reward.  For instance, sweeping the floor is worth 2 points, doing the dishes 5 points.  10 points can be turned in for ice cream, 20 for a trip to the beach, etc.  Ellette doesn’t tell Odin she’s bored anymore, because every time she does he responds with chores she could be doing.  When he is watching her, she finds ways to occupy herself.

While this isn’t everything, it is enough to get you started!  If you have any ideas to share, please do.  Everyone can benefit from this information.

In the meantime, I am trying to finish two pairs of wings, a dozen top hats, and I have just been inspired to knit a complete chess board!

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