Times of transition - Mothering Forums
Unschooling > Times of transition
SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 08:31 PM 11-15-2011

I notice my nearly 7yo is often bored.  I sense that she wants something more.... different than what she usually likes.  She still loves more than anything to play, but I see just a bit of weariness about it, like she's looking for something and just doesn't know what it is.  (I don't feel the boredom is an obstacle for us.)


I know we could be getting outside more, but she very often doesn't want to come out with me.  And it doesn't really seem to change the outcome.  She finds something to do and play, with me or dd2 or by herself.  Then some loafing and mild complaints of boredom.  And this is not all the time.  She is most often a very busy girl, but I see this much more than last year, this *look* in her eyes.


So, what I'm thinking is that she is beginning some kind of developmental transition, between the nearly endless play and imagination into something more... deliberate?  What is the word I am looking for?  Creative not just imaginative?  Academic, possibly?  Skillful?  As a former kids' Aikido teacher, I have seen the "seven year old magic" in my own students.  I know Waldorf bases its curriculum upon this transition.  


But what about unschooling?  What does this time look like to an unschooler?  The oldest unschooler in the family, especially.  And could this be something else?  


So, am I right to think that this is what is happening?  What can I do to help her?  Just let her work through this?  


I think it would be nice (and most helpful) to hear your stories of transition times, at whatever age.

shoefairy3's Avatar shoefairy3 02:02 PM 11-16-2011

Did this change happen with the change of the weather?  My kids were acting more bored than usual after it got too cool to be outside for hours on end.  They have recently adjusted to their new play indoors

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 05:10 PM 11-16-2011

That could very well be, though this fall has been uncommonly nice here.  I will have to keep watch on that one.  Possibly the oncoming darkness.  It seems that this has been stewing for awhile.  It could really be so many things, couldn't it? Even eating habits.  But this time it all seems different than before.


Today her boredom comes from wanting *me* to read *her* Harry Potter, and battling a mild cold (we skipped gym today).  She gets impatient to get to the next chapter, and I just don't want to sit and read all day.  So, the sources change, and I can often tell the difference.  I have long suspected that getting our activities outside would help, but it mostly doesn't change, in or out.  It's neither better nor worse.  I've wondered whether getting her to run around more each day to wear her out would help.  (She does gymnastics once a week.)  


Her motivations can be mysterious (baffling sometimes when we are arguing), and she is just learning to articulate what she is thinking.  For example, when choosing a horse to buy with her allowance, she pointed out that she chose the one she wanted because it looked like it would start trotting.  The other was standing still.  I never noticed that.  I like that she chose to tell me.



shoefairy3's Avatar shoefairy3 05:35 PM 11-17-2011

perhaps it is just a season of learning for her right now.  She might just be bored.  I know I go through seasons of random boredom where things that usually are fun just dont sound appealing.  Like all kids things, I imagine this too shall pass.  I do wonder if she is going to suddenly make a large advancement in some skill.  You know how babies get fussy and cranky (and tend to not sleep) when they are learning a new skill (like talking or walking) and then once they master the skill, things seem to go back to "normal"

moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 05:48 PM 11-18-2011

I hesitated to contribute to this thread because I don't feel like I have any answers, since I'm struggling with some of the same issues with my 8.5-year-old. Aimlessness, loss of interest in things that used to interest her, the worry that maybe I'm not serving her needs as thoroughly as I should be, but no sense of how to change things for the better.


But I have three older kids and I guess when I think back on it this is just normal, and it passes. We can analyze it all to heck, and try to adjust and respond, but mostly I think it's just that our kids are growing up, and they have these times when they feel a little bit at a loss. Eventually they get comfortable in their new way of being and settle in and get busy with whatever is next on their agenda, and we wonder why (or whether!) we were ever worried. And all the fretting and adjusting and second-guessing, it was probably completely unnecessary.


Sometimes I think they grow up in spite of us, not because of us!



SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 09:28 PM 11-18-2011

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I hesitated to contribute to this thread because I don't feel like I have any answers, since I'm struggling with some of the same issues with my 8.5-year-old. Aimlessness, loss of interest in things that used to interest her, the worry that maybe I'm not serving her needs as thoroughly as I should be, but no sense of how to change things for the better.



Today made me realize why what's happening can be a problem:  she tends to "throw her grumps around" when she's feeling aimless for a very long time.  When she does, she takes it out on dd2.  Days like today can be exhausting.  Sometimes a day like today comes up at the end of a cold when either the brain or the body kicks in before the other is fully recovered. Usually, though,the boredom is relatively brief before she moves on.  She seems more thoughtful at those times.  


I'm still watchful, looking for the right moment to find out what's happening in her head.  We have a lot of allergies, and since very young, so my brain is still hard-wired to suspect foods or other allergies.  But I do think some of it is transition.  She's moving from the world of the Little Girl that her sister still fully inhabits, and is moving into the world of the Big Kid.  But really she doesn't belong wholly to either, which makes her not belong in either place.  So, her little girl play is sometimes a condescension while she is not quite ready for the big girls yet.  


And while I trust to the unschooling process (or....whatever....maybe I should just say her own development....but, whatever...) I still feel tempted to *do* something more than what I am doing.

Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 06:51 PM 11-25-2011

I started noticing this a bit in my daughter (9) - she didn't complain of boredom but I got this feeling that she was ready to do more stuff but wasn't sure how to initiate it all on her own. We started something called "Project Time" where I sit down with her for 1 hour and we work together on anything she feels like doing. I brought lots of suggestions to the table to give her some ideas. She really took to this and is now working on more complex projects that must be planned and executed over several periods of work rather than doing something on the spur of the moment and then being done with it a while later. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I just sensed that she was ready for more. She really loves this special time with me, and because it's all up to her what we do it doesn't feel the least bit coercive. I don't know if this will help in your situation but it did in mine so just thought I'd share. 

orangefoot's Avatar orangefoot 06:36 PM 11-26-2011

My almost 9 year old has been restless on and off for a year or so now.  She has given up telling me that she is bored but she does stomp about a fair bit when she is still deciding what to do to resolve whatever it is she is feeling and sometimes that does affect us all more than we like.


I am resisting the temptation to 'fix' this as I can see that she is finding things to do that suit her that she never thought she would want to do. She still plays outdoors a lot with her sister or goes for walks on her own but she is also appreciating time alone sitting on her bed reading, playing her recorder or just thinking. Her reading stamina has improved hugely over the last 6 months and this has enabled her to use some of her 'bored' times differently!


We have had some times alone together while dd2 does drama thing on a Monday (her first solo activity!)  and we have used this time to walk and talk or sit and talk about how she feels and to roll around ideas about new paths she is considering. This has been fruitful and we have been able to act on one of her ideas already.


Just yesterday she was mad over something which I feel is related to this transition. She was moaning about being invited to a 6 year old's party today but not being invited to another friend's 13th birthday party party next week. She is now feeling that she has more in common with older people than younger ones but the young ones still like her and the older ones accept her only so far.


Some behaviours are just normal and not down to any 'fixable' problem like food. We are aware that our younger dd is sensitive to hunger and sugar dips but sometimes she is how she is just because she feels like being that way regardless of how much we dislike it at that moment!