The ULTIMATE to-do list!

I am a lover of the to-do list. Open my planner and several notes fall out on any given day. Today, while on the treadmill, (something always on the to-do list, that doesn’t always get done) I was thinking about balance and how when my life is balanced with all the right elements in the right proportions things just seem …easier.  If I get too much work and not enough rest, exercise, spiritual time, family time, friend time etc., I get cranky and my family suffers. In other words, when my daily to-do list isn’t balanced, we have an unhappy family! I’m confident I’m not alone on this one.
Children need balance too.  While their needs might look different than ours, they really are the same. They need physical activity (play), sleep, time to socialize with peers, time to be creative, time to learn new things…the list could really go on and on. I think so many parents (myself often included) feel a need to check things off the parent/child “to-do” list. Did we have a play date this week? Did we read enough today? Is my child constantly signed up for an organized group activity? After all, they need to learn to follow rules and play with peers. Have we had music time? Art time? Baby yoga? Pottery? You get the picture.
If you are anything like me, as much as you feel this need at times to schedule all these “musts” you often want to just stay home and have some down time. Guess what? Our kids need down time too! I know…shocking, but true! BOREDOM BREEDS CREATIVITY! Think to when you were a kid. Every second of your day was not scheduled. And (gasp) you did not have a toy to teach you everything you need to know for Kindergarten by 2 years old or have something to occupy you every second.  When you were bored, you got creative! You used problem solving skills, social skills to organize and delegate, make believe to play and create your own games, and your imagination to pretend simple things were objects way more majestic than they really were.  Thinking of this immediately brings me to my grandparent’s basement. My grandmother (a very strong woman I must say) watched my brother, my 2 cousins, and me with only 5 years between us. Her house was filled with lots of love and outstanding food but not many toys. We were bored (briefly) but frequently creative.  Although often displeasing to her, we used our imaginations.  Her super sized box of powdered detergent became the beach one day. An extremely entertaining pretend shaving session cost my cousin Tania an eyebrow.  The berries in her front bushes became “poisonous” threats from an evil queen. We coveted our lucky hopscotch rocks in a special hiding place. The list could go on and on. The point is, just like we needed it and got it, OUR CHILDREN NEED BOREDOM (AND THE CREATIVITY THAT FLOWS FROM IT) TO LEARN!
Give your older kids a box of toothpicks and see what they can do. Drag out the pots and pans for your baby and turn on some music. Fill a table with items from your recycling box and glue, markers, tape, and scissors. You get my point. The next time you hear, “Mom I am bored,” answer….”GOOD! You are getting smarter by the minute!”
So as you start this week and fill out those never ending to-do lists, include LEAVE TIME TO BE BORED AND CREATIVE for yourself and your kids! And every once in awhile treat yourself to the permission to check that one off first!
 Here are my girls, at Christmas, being BORED and CREATIVE! It makes me laugh every time!
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