It's the school holidays, the weather is wintry and your kids are irritable because they are bored, fantastic!
Psychologists and child behaviourists tell us boredom is good for kids as it encourages creativity whereas constant entertainment breeds irritability and restlessness under the law of diminishing returns.
If you would like your child to develop their own creative interests they need the time and space to do just that.
Of course at first it won't be comfortable for them (or you) if they are unfamiliar with the sensations and used to someone / something else creating a distraction.
"I'm bored" are words that seem to strike fear into the hearts of many parents who then try to solve the 'problem' by suggesting all kinds of things, arranging yet another outing or allowing yet more screen time.
Stop! Boredom is not something to be feared
This is a vital life lesson for your child. Boredom is not something to be feared, rather it is an opportunity, an opening into another world; the world of thoughts, of ideas, of quiet contemplation, the world of decision making.
It is also about responsibility, about who is in charge of your child's feelings.
Sit with their feelings
Allow your child to sit with their feelings and decide what they will do about them, and yes it may be a very long day.
If you are able to do this you will clearly demonstrate to your child you believe they can solve the 'problem' at hand.
Changing patterns of behaviour is not easy for children or adults so be patient and keep your focus on the end goal.
A child who is able to draw on their creative instincts and who has a wide range of interests and activities is in a position of strength.
Space and quiet time will give your child the opportunity to develop the skill of listening to themselves, of finding their creative instincts and interests.
Try something different
So when your hear "I'm bored" instead of providing a list of suggestions, try something different such as "OK, what would you like to do about that?"
As that is an opened ended question you might have to put in qualifications such as " remember we are having an at home day today" or "Remember today we're having a screen free day".
At first there will likely be lots of complaining and even anger if the child is used to being constantly entertained.
Here is where you stay calm and just hand the situation back to child. "OK I hear you're bored, perhaps you can think about what you're going to do". Don't at this stage give in and start making suggestions such as "You've got all that Lego you could make something, or there's lots of craft material what could you make....."
Quiet space can be hard to find
In the modern 24 hour electronic world quiet space can be hard to find, there's a great deal of money to be made out of convincing parents that children need constant entertainment so this school holidays try something different, stick with quiet time for a few days and enjoy the results.