Behaviour & Emotions

I'm bored: How the Fridge List can help

Boredom is okay

Sometimes children get tired, overwhelmed, lonely and bored. They just don’t have the wherewithal to know what to do next. It can be particularly tough when they have been doing something really exciting, like playing a game on their device or bouncing on the trampoline with friends, and those activities have ended. It is perfectly natural for children to struggle getting into a new activity, and some children find it difficult to play on their own.

A bit of boredom is actually good for our kids – it can spark their imaginations

As parents, we don’t need to be afraid of boredom. A bit of boredom is actually good for our kids – it can spark their imaginations. Once our kids have pushed through boredom, they often discover creative outlets and projects that will enthral them for hours. However, they do sometimes need a little nudge in terms of inspiration.

The Fridge List

The Fridge List can come to the rescue with ideas to kick-start the next activity. Children may be inclined to default to using technology as their first and best idea and the Fridge List can provide some ‘go to’ alternatives for things to do before switching something on. Some children will need an extra bit of parental support and assistance to get into a new activity. For others, the Fridge List inspires independent play and some autonomy – they'll enjoy making a choice for themselves.

This tool is pretty self-explanatory. Simply write a list of things to do (maybe pictures for young children) and stick it to the fridge! Then, next time you're met with "I'm bored", you can gently reply with "Have you checked the Fridge List?"

The list might look something like this:

  1. Read a book
  2. Paint or draw
  3. Play shops
  4. Create a fort in the living room out of blankets or boxes
  5. Play a board game or do a puzzle
  6. Play hide and seek
  7. Ride your bike
  8. Make a marble run
  9. Get out the craft box and create something
  10. Make a birthday card for someone
  11. Bake some biscuits
  12. Take some photos
  13. Make some homemade ice-blocks
  14. Make a smoothie
  15. Invent a menu for a meal you could help make
  16. Learn a magic trick
  17. Build something out of Lego
  18. Draw a mural with big chalk on a paved area
  19. Tear out magazine pictures and make collage art
  20. Set up a treasure hunt with clues dotted around the house
  21. Play with modelling clay or playdough
  22. Make up questions for a quiz night

Edited extract from Kind, Firm, Calm: Simple Strategies to Transform Your Parenting, by Jenny Hale. Available wherever good books are sold, and also now available as an e-book.

Jenny Hale

Jenny Hale

Jenny Hale is our Senior Parent Coach and we’ve been lucky enough to have her on our team for over 24 years. She’d love to raise free-range chickens, write children’s books and perhaps even take up horse-riding again.

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