If your preteen mopes and moans around the house complaining: “Mom, I’m bored! Find something for me to do,” then you’re not alone. Parents shouldn’t find activities for their bored preteen, however. Parents should enable their preteen to find their own activities. This enables preteens to discover new interests, learn new things about their environment and develop their creativity, says clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Markham and creator of Aha! Parenting. Markham also notes that allowing your preteen to choose her own activities to ward off boredom gives her substantive practice with decision-making and effective time management.
Spending time outdoors -- whether in your neighborhood or in the wilderness -- positively affects your preteen's physical and emotional well-being. Writer Laura Jerpi reports, in a 2012 article for South Source magazine, an online publication created by South University, that being outdoors elevates your mood, increases self-esteem and provides a barrier against obesity. Preteens can take walks, ride bikes or play softball outside when they're bored. They can also learn to skip rocks or observe various wildlife at a nearby river or local park.
Indoor activities help ward off boredom as well, but should be stimulating enough to keep your preteen's attention. Your preteen can turn the TV off and enjoy a board or video game with a sibling or friend. Your preteen may also visit a local entertainment center, skating rink or bowling alley for indoor activities. While some preteens may opt to watch television when they're bored, this may actually exacerbate their boredom as they zone out from watching TV programs that don't teach them anything, offers medical professionals with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Learn Something Fascinating
Your preteen won’t be so bored once she learns something mentally stimulating. Suggest that she read a new book. Visits the local library and bookstore so that she can discover topics that will pique her curiosity. You can suggest that your preteen research different countries around the world, and then she can select her top five vacation destinations. Finding a new hobby, such as collecting rocks or stargazing, provides additional ways for your preteen to be fascinated and less bored.
Suggest that your preteen hang with a few of her friends when she's bored. Your preteen and her friends can hang out at the mall or walk around the neighborhood while talking and forming closer bonds. You can also encourage your preteen to do volunteer work for organizations to give her a chance to socialize with new people, such as the elderly or fellow animal lovers. Encouraging your preteen to interact with others and resist isolating herself helps cultivate and strengthen her social skills.
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