The Boy is in that teen limbo that occurs between 12 and 15: too old for summer camp, not old enough to earn a W-2. He’s still a voluntold when I need flyers distributed for an upcoming program, and with the promise of a hoagie, good as a runner to Wawa, but how to prevent the summer anthem of “I’m bored” with the chorus of “why must you drawl”?
The first week of vacation found The Boy in a video game coma. Not able to tolerate the inevitable screaming when he lost or got killed during a mission, screen time was limited to three hours. There was a lot of stomping and angry muttering, but The Mister and I feel this rule will help him improve in other areas. I know from experience that limiting time in front of a tablet or mobile device before sleep makes the next day less daunting and more focused. I also know my children. I remember finding my daughter slumped over her own computer or The Boy sleeping with a game controller clutched in his hand from nocturnal forays. I use my Verizon app to limit access to wifi. I can also set a timer for the TV so when I tell him one more hour and he decides to continue playing anyway, the TV goes off automatically.
Limited screen time does not include time for reading. Between borrowing books ebooks from the library and Kindle Unlimited, The Boy and I have access to thousands of books. For the times when we’re in the garden, listening to stories on Audible or Overdrive helps to pass the time.
At 14, The Boy has more independence. Rather than nickel and dime me for spending money, I enrolled in the student account program with Paypal. Parents can set up and monitor accounts for students. If the card is lost or stolen, the only loss is the money on the card. There’s no access to bank accounts or credit cards. The Boy has enough money for carfare, trips to the HMart for California rolls, or small gifts for his cousin. It also teaches him more responsibility. He seems less inclined to pull out his wallet as he watches his balance.
Since the last Tony awards broadcast, the soundtrack of Hamilton has been on constant repeat. I now understand why my mom used to cringe when she heard the opening notes to Little Shop of Horror or The Mister stared daggers when I sang “Hello” from Book of Mormon. The Boy peppers his conversations with quotes from the soundtrack, “spits mad lyrics” when he’s washing dishes, and renamed all of his devices after a song from the soundtrack. Since ticket prices costs more than my car payment and mortgage, his daily job is to log on to the Hamilton lottery page for a chance for us to win tickets.
One other thing I’ve done to keep The Boy occupied is declared Wednesday his night to cook dinner. I told him to use YouTube or Buzzfeed Tasty videos to come up with recipe ideas. So far, it’s been tacos, tacos, and more tacos.
What other ideas can I use to keep The Boy boredom free? Leave your tips in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly #NoBoredKids