Why Boredom Is Good For Your Child
With digital nannies readily available and excessive toys at hand, boredom has become a scarce commodity in our children’s lives. In the book “Simplicity Parenting” Kim John Payne says that “our society, with its pressure of too much, is waging an undeclared war on childhood”. Boredom, although a seldom occurrence these days, is in fact, a powerful and necessary gift we must ensure children experience. As parents, you agree that while you long for boredom and free time, boredom is a privilege that only kids are entitled to. So as boring as it sounds (no pun intended here) boredom is good for your child and let’s talk about why.
Boredom encourages creativity
As the saying goes “ Necessity is the mother of invention”. Letting your child feel bored, encourages them to think of ways to entertain themselves. It allows them to use their imagination, discover their interests and hone their potential. Look back on your own childhood and you’ll probably remember how you turned waste cloth into dresses for your doll or invented a game of your own and turned scrap into pieces of art. If you think deeper, none of the games and sports we play today might have been invented ever if someone in history didn’t get bored.
Boredom allows your mind to rest and reset
Our children’s lives are busier than we intend for them to be. Between school, sports, and extra circular activities, our children’s everyday lives are immersed in structured activities. Having small pockets of time to do nothing is exactly what their little bodies and mind need to recharge and reset. If you’ve ever felt that your child was being cranky and overwhelmed, tweak their schedule to allow more free time and you’ll see a noticeable change for the better.
Boredom encourages independence
Too often, we end up doing everything for our children and it inevitably becomes a habit. From feeding them food, cleaning up after their toys or getting them dressed. Depending on their age, they might need assistance with some tasks but it is always a good idea to encourage independence. Allowing your child to get bored and asking them to tackle boredom on their own, encourages problem-solving and independent play too. Using one’s creativity and skills to entertain oneself instead of relying on stimulation from outside might be one of the best skills they develop as children.
Boredom facilitates better interpersonal relationships
When your child is devoid of gadgets and a strict schedule that keeps them occupied every single minute, they are more likely to interact with the people around them. This can facilitate and encourage sibling play, and create opportunities for parent and child to bond while making time for conversations and interactions, all of which are less likely to happen if they were glued to technology and gadgets.
How to respond when your child says they are bored
Every parent has heard at some point in time, that their child is bored. And you wonder, with all their gadgets and toys, where you went wrong. While your immediate response may be to suggest an activity, try these responses next time.
Gauge the situation
With younger children especially, saying they are bored could mean many things. It could indicate that they are hungry, tired or even craving your attention. So consider the circumstances before dismissing them or dropping everything to keep them occupied.
Often, if your child is saying no to every suggestion, they might just be wanting your attention more than a snack or an activity.
Encourage them to tackle boredom on their own
Don’t jump to suggest an activity or a toy and even less, turn on the TV. Instead, respond with more enthusiasm. Try “Oh, that’s great. I can’t wait to see what you come up with”, or “ Okay, I’m sure you’ll figure out something great to do with your time”.
Validate their feelings
Instead of insisting that there’s no chance they could be bored or talking them out of it, validate them. Tell them that it’s okay to be bored. This lets them know that boredom is natural and that it’s important to listen to their bodies and mind.
Ensure your child’s schedule isn’t filled to the brim with structured activities and plans, it can often make them feel overwhelmed and fatigued. In a world of instant gratification and endless entertainment, many children and parents almost fear boredom. Let that perspective change. Once we understand that boredom is a good thing, for children, in particular, we can allow them to truly tap into their creativity and potential.. And the next time they say they are bored, you’ll know it’s a good thing.
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