With Spring Break time approaching and summer not too far behind, many parents are confronted with how to keep their kids from saying, “I’m bored.” Here is a game that you can use that will actually empower your kids to create possibilities that will begin to create more possibilities for what works for them.
Empowering kids to create choices need not be difficult. As a matter of fact it can become a fun game I like to call the Choice Game. Before playing this game there are few strategies that help the game go smoother.
The next strategy is to allow the possibilities to show up without limitations. It is like brain storming to see how many different ideas begin to show up. Anything is allowed to come forth without judgment. Then from those possibilities comes choice. Teaching your kids how to make choices based on awareness gives them practice to be more aware so that they are in tune to their knowing. Being in the awareness allows you as a parent to let go of your worry because your kids are going to be so aware that they will know when and how to avoid trouble. How cool is that? No more sleepless nights.
You can use this game for anything that your child is choosing, and the more choice you give them, the more they will be empowered into their own awareness. You are also sending them a message that you trust them to make their own choices based on the strategies used in the game.
So let’s play the game. I am going to use Tommy as an example. Tommy comes to you and says he is bored and that there isn't anything to do. Time to begin the game:
• First have Tommy ask what else is possible besides being bored.
• Have Tommy write or draw all the things that begin to come to mind. By putting the possibilities on note cards or paper kids can see just how many different things begin to show up and they can keep them for later. Encourage him to ask, “What else is possible?” until there aren’t any other possibilities that show up. You may suggest some possibilities that you think of but try to let him do most of it.
• Now lay out the possibilities on a table and have him look at them and begin to sense which one feels lightest, more fun, seems to pop out and say, “Me! Me!” Some choices will feel heavy and maybe will lighten up after another choice is made. Be sure to let him know that there aren't any wrong choices, he is free to choose. (Note, if he has a choice that won’t work for you then simply let him know that this time that isn't a possibility). Now Tommy is empowered to create his own activities and his own happiness. He may choose to do one activity for a while and when it no longer feels like fun or have that light feeling, he can choose to do something else by asking again- What else is possible? Maybe he will add some more to his growing list.
Encourage your child not to think about why they are choosing something other than it just felt light. We don’t need to understand why we are led to these “lighter” choices, other than we trust our awareness to know what will work out best for us. When we start analyzing our choice, we get into judgment and that never feels light. This is a key element for when they are out on their own and they get a sense that something is not right and that they need to get away from a situation, it's not the time to try to think it out, just follow the knowing and trust. Kids actually have less of an issue with trusting than adults do.
Now Tommy has tools for choosing in all kinds of situations: getting dressed, what to eat, when and how to do homework, what to watch on TV or the movies, what topic to write about, what time to go to bed, which friend to play with and any time a “decision” is being made. By turning it into a choice, kids learn that choices aren’t wrong, they are just choices and when a choice becomes not fun or not working any more simply choose something else by asking a question, see what possibilities show up and then use the lightness to choose. After a while it will all become pretty automatic because they will be so aware that they won’t even need to ask which one feels light.
Parents beware that you aren’t imposing your limitations on this process. It works when you can allow the child to choose and then learn to discover how to choose differently when something doesn’t work out for them. We all have a tendency to want to think things through rather than trust our inner knowing. We cannot even begin to comprehend what wonderful results can come from these possibilities. I encourage parents to play this game also with all of the choices that you are presented with every day. Keep in mind that when you are frustrated, confused, or angry you can ask a question that will give you possibilities for choice. What will your first Choice Game be? Have fun with it!