When my kid says ‘I’m bored,’ I pretend to hear ‘give me more chores.’

“I’m bored,” is something my daughter knows NOT to say around me.

If she does, I will look into her big brown eyes with my most sincere fake paternal concern, and say, “Honey, you are a talented, intelligent, wonderful kid with so many opportunities. You have no reason to think people find you boring.”

She has leearned not to roll her eyes and sass me with “I said I’m bored, not that I’m boring.”

Because if she does, I might say, “How thoughtful and responsible of you to ask for a chore. Would you like to sweep your crumbs off the kitchen floor or clean your toothpaste off the bathroom counter?”

She’s learned that it’s futile to protest “I don’t want to do either!”

That’s because I will say, “You don’t want to sweep the kitchen or clean the bathroom? You don’t have to do one or the other — I’ll grant you permission to do both!”

And she knows she’ll gain nothing by saying “I want to play a computer game!”

Because I will say “Honey, you have my permission to want to play a computer game. You can want it as much as you like, because I want to encourage your hopes and dreams. You can want to watch a movie, or visit your baby cousin in New Jersey, or be cast in a TV commercial, because I love you.”

Sometimes I will do the chore with her, or sometimes I will suggest a lesson she usually ends up enjoying, such as Scratch programming. So part of what she’s saying is “Put down the iPad, Daddy, and pay attention to me!”

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