Summer is here. Kids are out of school and parents everywhere are about to hear the phrase we dread (and I don’t mean, “Can I have another snack?”).
I am thrilled to have our kids out of school for the summer, but the boredom will soon ensue.
When kids go from constant entertainment and engagement to nothing, they easily get bored. They want and feel they need to get a quick fix of entertainment. So many times this leads to TV and iPads, or bugging Mom for something exciting to do.
But this summer, our kids are going to get to experience the true joys of boredom. I’m sure we will still have our electronic entertainment, because let’s face it, this technology isn’t going anywhere and our kids need to learn how to use it responsibly. And we still plan to go swimming, take a trip, and do lots of other things to create lasting memories of our time together.
Being bored is so good for our kids. One study done on boredom showed that kids needed to be bored for 12 minutes before their creative juices kicked in. When they don’t have something to entertain them, they have to find their own entertainment. This leads to their own unique development of creativity and interests, their own games and ideas, their own ways to solve problems and entertain themselves.
- Here are a few reasons boredom is so great:
Stimulates creative and imagination thinking
Helps kids find their own ways to entertain themselves, instead of getting a “quick-fix”
Helps them learn to problem solve
Helps them develop unique interests
Helps them exercise their brain
Helps with critical thinking skills
Helps them unwind and process their day and what they have learned
Kids don’t get as bored as easily
Kids explore and learn at their own pace
Learn time management
As parents, we often feel like it’s our duty to fill our kids’ lives with engaging and educational activities. This is often especially the case during the school year, when we have dance, gymnastics, Kung Fu, baseball, soccer, Girl Scouts, cross-country, plus hours of homework. We want to give our kids every opportunity to succeed in life. But overscheduling them can be detrimental. Many of today’s kids and teens have trouble with anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and mental health issues because of constant stress in their lives.
It is important to note, that although we don’t want to give our kids things to constantly occupy their time, we need to be cautious of what they do. Kids left unattended or unsupervised can get into trouble. This idea of boredom means times when they want to watch TV or do something exciting, and you’re trying to teach the importance of downtime and entertaining ourselves.
Doing nothing is not wasting time. Doing nothing can be productive and beneficial for our kids. Allowing for downtime is just as important as many of the other things we feel we need to pack our schedules with. Boredom is not something that needs a quick fix. It is something to be embraced.
So, the next time your kid comes to you with that inevitable phrase, “I’m bored!” tell them how great it is to be bored!
- Ideas for “I’m bored!” statements for younger kids:
- Outside play- watch the clouds, play with sticks, etc
- Painting, drawing
- Random craft/lego/blocks to build and create
- Simple toys
- Pretend play, imagination play
- Reading, books, magazines
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