Over the coming weeks, with the school holidays upon us, the words ‘I’m bored’ will no doubt be heard many times by mums, dads, grandparents or carers looking after children of all ages.
There will perhaps be the classic standard replies along the lines of ‘I never had time to be bored when I was your age’, ‘why don’t you tidy your bedroom and then you might find something to do or read and be able to get to your bed without having to complete an obstacle course’, or ‘come and help me empty the dishwasher’.
Strangely, none of the above are hugely popular with children of any age.
Tales of halcyon days tadpole collecting, or playing house all day with a clothes horse and a blanket in the back garden are, in reality, less than helpful.
I am guessing most of us have given in to the DVD watching, ice cream buying or purchased a much-nagged-for toy or magazine to keep the peace.
They say what goes around comes around and I remember as a small child always asking when the trip into town would be, were we baking that day and a host of other can we, could we and why not questions I am sure my mother could have done without.
To have a plan for the whole summer – particularly if money is tight – can feel like an impossible task.
There will always be something to do in a house, always a ‘to-do’ list, the ‘in tray of life’ will never completely empty.
That is before you add in the fact there are more than five million working mothers today.
When I was working as a freelance public relations person, I can remember the conflict sometimes between a client’s deadline and giving my children the time and attention they needed.
The only thing I can say is I did not always get the balance right – who does? – but I did learn the lesson that stepping away from the things that in reality can wait is the best option.
Twenty minutes sitting reading with your child, a walk, a shared task, setting up a messy paints table can all make a difference.
You might be amazed how good it is for everyone to step back for a moment – the tasks will still be there, but you are more likely to have them in perspective and you have had quality time together.
Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Toni Moore, of Jigsaw Childminding in Skellow, who organised the second annual St John’s Toddle last week.
I popped over and was overwhelmed by the colourful spectacle that greeted me.
What a marvellous thing to do to support us – and I know the money raised is going to buy new play equipment for children who visit friends or family at the hospice.