We’ve all heard it. “I’m bored!” What is your go to reaction when you hear this? Is it to hand over a tablet or phone? Perhaps turn on the TV? Guess what? It’s good for kids to be bored!
You just gasped didn’t you? Maybe even a little horrified? That’s right, boredom is actually good for kids. Yes, even your kids.
Benefits of boredom
When my kids would say that they were bored, I would tell them that they weren’t using their brains. Why? Because they weren’t thinking. Boredom allows kids to think. Often, boredom brings about mindless entertain, such as watching television. When kids don’t have anything to do, instead of thinking on their own, they simply gravitate to their ‘go to’ entertainment.
Being bored allows children to think about what they can do beyond what is easy to do.
Being bored allows children to be creative. One place kids are always bored is when families go out to eat. This drives me crazy. Why? Because you will see families at the table and all the children of all ages are on a phone or tablet.
When my kids were younger, we played tic tac toe using sugar packets or drew on napkins. We played a game (and got the wait staff involved) where we would pick a letter and say all the words we could think of that started with that letter. For younger children there is I Spy as well. Allow children to create their own games to play. Give them random items and allow their to be creative with them. Loose parts is a great way to keep kids being creative and learning at the same time.
Skill building while being bored
Boredom will build motivation in children. In order to not be bored, they will need to do something different. Children are used to parents and other adults setting the schedule for them. Adults entertain them or ensure that they aren’t bored. Children will be motivated by being bored to find themselves something to do. Motivation is an important skill for children to learn. Allowing boredom will help.
Another important skill is problem solving. Parents all too often jump in and rescue children from anything negative. We as adults need to stop doing this. It takes away from many learning experiences children could have. Being bored is a problem for the child. Letting them be bored gives them the opportunity to solve a problem themselves. This also help create their identity. They begin to learn about themselves and what they enjoy doing.
Take this opportunity to encourage independence. Allowing a child to entertain themselves gives them some power. This in turn will create confidence and responsibility. All too often I see children who cannot play. I know this must seem strange. Don’t all children know how to play? Unfortunately, no. Children who rely on adults to entertain them or tell them what to do or how to do something don’t learn how to play.
In our center, we have very few electronic type toys. We have blocks, puzzles, Legos and many other toys that require imagination. Children are losing imagination. They need to enjoy their childhood without adults managing their every minute.
Will you let your child be bored?