I remember when my daughter was three, she used to say, “I love being bored!” I don’t think she really understood what Boredom was. Now, so often I hear, “Moooooooom, I’m sooooo bored!” and there seems to be an expectation of being entertained constantly.
“Mom, I’m bored!
How many times have we heard this exclamation and rushed to find something to entertain our children? Or, handed them the remote or iPad and let them lose themselves in screen time? What if we let them figure it out without the help of a screen? Or handed them a box of art supplies and told them to get creative and get busy?
What if being bored is ok?
When our children are bored, we immediately think that we need to fix it and hand them a solution. Generally, it involves something with an on switch or a class that we paid way too much for. We schedule every minute of the day to keep their idle hand moving. But when children are bored, it forces them to find entertainment and a solution for themselves. They need to find something to do, and that’s where creativity and great ideas are born. Through being bored, our children find more independence.
Children, especially young children need to experience boredom so that they can figure it out. They don’t have to be making the most of their time every minute. In fact, experts agree that boredom isn’t always a bad thing. According to Psychology Today, a child finding themselves with nothing to do can lead to a “boredomtunity”, or an opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and creativity to blossom.
Don’t be afraid to allow your child to get bored. Your life may be so busy that you don’t have time to be bored. Take some time and let it be. Drop one of your child’s activities for a week or two and see what happens. They might be frustrated at first, not knowing what to do with all the newfound free time. Give them some ideas to create a jumping-off point and then let them go. You might be surprised at what they come up with.
Scratching your head and trying to think of boredom busters? Try these ideas next time you go to hand your child the remote.
Blast off to space in a cardboard box
Grab a couple of markers and an old Amazon box. Turn it into a spaceship! It’s amazing how many times you see a child surrounded by new toys they got for a birthday. They’re ignoring the toys and playing with the boxes they came in. Challenge your kids to get creative and shoot for the moon.
Create an obstacle course
This one takes a few pillows, chairs, and maybe a box or two. Challenge your kids to create an obstacle course to run through using only the things they can find around the house.
Many kids love to cook and there are simple recipes all over the internet. It’s also great to teach them how to mix and measure ingredients. If you’re lucky, you’ll be left with something delicious.
Try out this recipe for Churro Muffins- they never last more than a day in our house.
Get some fresh air
Summer is here and the weather is beautiful. Tell your kids to go outside and take a run around the block. Chances are they will run into a friend and then you’ll never be able to get them back in.
Creativity is King
Crayons, markers, paint… almost any medium will do. Hand your child something to color with and a piece of paper and they’re ready to roll. Or, give them some rocks to paint and place around the neighborhood for your neighbors to discover. This boredom crusher lets kids get messy and create art- for themselves and their friends around them.
You may experience resistance at first, and that’s ok. Don’t give up. This is new- we are all used to scheduling our days and packing them full. Your kids may fight- with you and each other- but in the end, they’ll also discover something new. They also may discover a newfound best friend in a sibling that they didn’t really notice before.
I wish I was bored
I wish boredom was an issue for me. Between keeping the little humans alive and fed, housekeeping, and trying to spend at least an hour each day with my husband, there is no time for me to be bored. It has been so long since I could just sit down and read a book, watch something on TV that wasn’t PinkFong or dinosaur-related, have a long relaxing bath… you get the picture.
A chance to learn
When giving oneself a chance to settle in and put down the devices, you might make a crazy discovery. Being bored isn’t a bad thing. You might find that you- and your kids- actually like it. And it’s amazing what you can all come up with to do when there are no plans. Give yourself a break and find some time for you to all be bored together. When you start being creative, boredom can take a turn for the better.
Let us know- what’s your family’s favorite boredom-created activity? Have you found joy in boredom?
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