Last week SkyNews, a U.K. online news Web site, published an article that made a connection between children being bored and children being an only child. I’m not entire sure how the author got from point A to point B, but he did.
Here’s a sampling of the article, which I found offensive:
“Evidence suggests siblings save kids from 'risky' behaviour. They can provide the sympathetic ear parents sometimes fail to offer. They can prevent bullying, by active intervention, or old-fashioned snitching. They can act in loco parentis. They provide a ready supply of 'playdates' without ever leaving home.” You can read the entire post here.
Perhaps I was feeling overly sensitive after a week of hearing JJ say over and over again, “I’m bored.” We have been on a campaign to turn off the TV more and find other things to do. It seems we have fallen into this bad habit of JJ turning on the TV after school and only turn it off long enough to do homework, which isn’t very long since she is only in second grade.
It has been a painful transition for JJ and for us. Last week every time we shut off the TV, JJ would just sit in the chair in front of the TV and look longingly at the blank screen. I would suggest she find something else to do, I would point out she was wasting time that she could be doing any number of fun things. I would offer to play a game with her. I would offer to read Harry Potter to her.
But all she would say over and over again is “I’m bored.”
And, of course, as an only child myself I would remember being bored. I would remember days in the summer that would feel like there was nothing to do but wait for the day to end.
But, somehow, even after a week of “I’m bored,” we got through the weekend without a single utterance of the phrase.
Friday night after dinner and JJ’s favorite TV show, Endurance, we baked chocolate chip cookies, listened to music and danced around the house.
Saturday afternoon, we went to the library and then to the Air and Space Museum’s Air and Scare event.
Sunday we went to church and then hiked the Billy Goat Trail with friends. And, I was amazed at how JJ scrambled over the rocky trail with absolutely no fear while I hesitated and froze with every step. I think I found what will keep JJ from being bored. I just don’t think I, or my husband, have the physical endurance to go along with her.
Tell me what you do to keep your only child away from the TV. Do you think all only children are bored?
Silent Tongues in the House of the Rising Sun
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