What to Do When Girl Guide says “I’m Bored”

A year ago, my 10-year-old daughter discovered Girl Guides.

Since then, she has been committed to attending the weekly Unit meetings quite faithfully, whether homework was or was not completed. Her initial excitement stemmed from the fact that the meetings were for ‘girls only’. Later, the excitement extended to the badges and the crafts. As her interest in Guiding grew, she urged me to become more involved as a parent and to volunteer with her Unit.

We started year two with the same thrill, but then came a mild chill.

“It’s boring” is all I got from her on our drive to a recent Unit meeting. Her excitement returned only when she received her camping permission form, and so I couldn’t help but wonder if her boredom stemmed from repeat weekly activities she had already completed in her first year in Guiding.

Does a parent bring something like this up with her daughter’s Guider/s? Wouldn’t that put my daughter in an awkward position?

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16 Responses to What to Do When Girl Guide says “I’m Bored”

  1. Amanda Zimmer says:

    I think the first place to start is with the girl. Ask the girl why it’s boring. Then go from there.
    Instead of “confronting” the guider, have your daughter suggest some new “fun” activities/crafts her unit could work on. Have her suggest each guide be in charge of finding 1 new thing to do. I’m sure they can work this into a badge too.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Since Guiding covers pretty much EVERYTHING, it’s natural that some girls like certain meetings/months more than others. The beginning of the year is often difficult to make exciting for returning girls because the groundwork for new girls needs to be laid every year.
    You might ask her guiders what their plans are for the next few meetings since there might be something more up her alley for her to look forward to. I doubt activities will have too much overlap with last year since Guides is a three year program- it becomes quite difficult for girls to earn their lady BP or even their guide challenge pin if guiders repeat the same things each year.
    Our unit has an area for each patrol to leave anonymous notes for guiders about suggestions they have for the rest of the year- it’s funny that some girls always want to repeat their favourite things over and over again and others always want to do something new! It can be hard to balance creating traditions with novelty.

  3. Laurie says:

    Definitely bring it up with the guiders – I’d want to know if one of my Guides were bored with what we do – that way I could change it up to make it better. But before bringing it up, I’d for sure follow Amanda’s advice and try to pinpoint exactly what is boring and some suggestions to get the Guiders started on a new plan.

  4. Brown Owl says:

    As a leader I would hope that a parent would feel comfortable enough to approach me with this comment. We try our best to keep the meeting interesting and new, but with all the competing items in our life it can be challenging. That being said, we do this because we believe in Guiding and what it can provide for the girls, we want to avoid having the girls lose interest because they are bored. We need to know! 🙂

    Talk to your guider, but before you do, talk to your daughter and ask her more questions: What do you find boring? What could make it more interesting? Bring that information to your conversation. Also, consider helping to prepare and/or participate in a special activity for your daughter’s group. It may be just what your guider needs to help kick things into the next level.

  5. Kristy says:

    Talking to your daughter about what she feels is boring is a good start, because it might just be this particular section of the program she is not interested in. The program has many themes, designed for many interests – but every girl won’t be interested in everything all the time.

    Talking to the guider is also something I would encourage in my troop (I am a brownie leader), and I would NEVER treat a girl differently because her parent’s spoke to me about their child losing interest. I would work hard to determine what the girl found boring, and to make sure she is including in planning. Just try not to be confrontational – we are volunteers after all, and put a lot of planning into making educational but fun meetings. Mention that your daughter was feeling a little sluggish about coming some nights, and you can go from there.

  6. jmd says:

    I was going to say something similar to Amanda – get some specifics on why it’s boring. It helps to know if it’s the games, crafts or something else that’s repetitive. When I’ve had this complaint before it was due to a personality conflict and the girl was making up a reason not to attend to avoid dealing with that (though if you’re there each week you’d probably know that).
    Letting the guider know in a constructive way that your daughter is looking for more variety and having the girl provide suggestions is a great idea and hopefully she will accept the information constructively rather than be offended.

  7. Cathy says:

    Definitely talk to the Guider, but come with specifics, as to what your daughter finds boring and what she’d rather be doing. Is it the format of the meetings, or the content? Not enough outings?

    As a Guider, I want feedback from the parents and the girls. We’re putting time and effort each week into creating program that we hope the girls will enjoy. If they’re not enjoying it, we need to know.

    Some things we repeat from year to year, like WAGGGS and World Centers and You in Guiding, and the content isn’t always exciting. Our unit is working on WAGGGS right now, but we’re planning a skating meeting at the end of it, to get them out and moving after a couple of weeks of “fun learning”.

    Come up with ideas for outings or guest speakers. As a Guider, I’m always open to suggestions for activites to do with the girls. We can get stuck in ruts and continue to do what works for us, without coming up with new activities.

    There’s also a maturation from grade 4 to grade 5 to grade 6. I can see it in my Guides, and things that excited them at 9 and 10 becomes blase at 11 and 12. Retaining the 2nd and 3rd year Guides is something we need to be doing, and if our program is starting to bore them, we need to know.

  8. Jennifer says:

    This is a situation that we’ve all faced at one time or another. I’ve done almost all levels and no matter how hard we try, sometimes the meetings are real flops and the girls get bored. But to the blogger’s point, I know my own daughter was in a Guide unit several years ago that did the same program each of the three years she was in that unit. Not only were the meetings boring, she wasn’t earning any new badges other than the ones we worked on at home. The only thing that really kept her going were her friends.
    You should always feel comfortable to voice concerns with your daughter’s Guiders, although I know from first hand experience, not all Guiders are receptive and this can be a slippery slope for you and your daughter. A suggetion I have heard works well is to offer to “host” a meeting at your home. Invite the unit to do something fun (ie baking, teaching them to knit etc). Discuss with this with her Guiders and see if they are open to it. This might initiate other parents to do the same and freshen everything up for everyone. As Guiders, we sometimes get caught up in what works and forget that it might be stale. And as a Guider, if a parent offered to do the work for the meeting and all I had to do was show, I’d show up with bells on lol. You’ll get to know the girls and GUiders and see if boredom is the issue, or if there is another issue (bullying, for example) and you might feel more comfortable talking the Guiders once you’ve had them in your home.

  9. Anonymous says:

    BRING IT UP! Maybe she’s not into the same thing everyone else is, maybe they need to add other things, it’s definately something the leader should be aware of so she can help include everyone and keep everyone doing great fun things

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think you should talk to your daughter first. There are many factors that could lead to boredom. If you openly discuss the problem, it could help your daughter express her reason(s) and then you can work together to find a solution!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Agreed with above, however also keep in mind, a child saying it’s boring could also be cover for problems with the other Guides or the Guider. If they are too scared to say they are being bossed around, or feel left out they may say they are bored.

  12. carolyn Eastwood says:

    your daughter needs to be challenged. Maybe she needs to plan a meeting and have some guests or plan a fun outing for everyone…a sleepover. something different and fun she can be in charge of doing and make her own twist to it. get her more involved. Let them all have fun and have a go at it. program falls into place as they learn and as they plan and try to lead they see it is not always easy to do. She has probably learned a lot and needs a challenge. OFten teaching new girls what she now knows and getting to be the leader is often a good spot. to be in. Maybe there is a local sparks unit she can help in and shine with all she has learned also. …. UNits are what you make them. Get out and be fun and crazy. Kids will learn in all kinds of ways and does not have to be the same each year…. throw in some silliness and laughter and amazing what happens. ….

  13. Heather Hall says:

    As a former Unit Guider and as a parent of a former girl in Guiding I have a couple of comments. The first is as a Guider..Yes I would like to know if the girls are finding it boring. I found that I preferred being a Guider to Sparks and Brownies, as they always seemed to be excited with program activities….no matter what you did. At Guide age……..I always seemed to hear……..from the girls……that they had been there,…. done that……and it was hard to find something that excited them. Then I guess the light bulb came on…………..I needed more input from the girls as to what THEY wanted to do with the program………..and then the ideas just seemed to flow. The girls had a stake in what was happening and they were growing….by the learning process.
    As a parent of a former Guiding member….when she got to Guides….it was a time in her life.that some of her friends were now picking other activities that they wanted to forcus on…..and so some of her peers were now no longer involved. Guiding became uncool for some girls. I was lucky.my daughter continued on into Pathfinders…but as she lost some of her peers it was harder to keep her involved.

  14. Ashes says:

    Larger units might consider splitting girls by year for paticularly repeative badgework/coursework. For example in Sparks each year I like to do a meeting where the second years work on their Brownies and Beyond Keeper, and the first years work on the Being a Spark keeper. These keepers are very specific to the first and second year, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so for the idea to work.
    If you consistantly do say, the My Hero key with second year brownies at the same annual meeting you do the My Space key with first years girls won’t feel like this year’s activities are a repeat of last years. It works particularly well if the second years look like they’re having a lot of fun, it will make an impression on the first years that they’ll remember when the next year when they get to partake in what looked like the more exciting activity.

  15. These are all amazing suggestions! We’ve also heard on Twitter about asking the girl to host an event at her house (if possible); asking her to plan with her friends an event for the whole Unit; and ask her what aspect makes her bored (because it may not be what we assume it to be). The most important message thread throughout all these suggestions has been to succeed by working together to figure out the source of the boredom collectively, girl, Guider and parents!

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