Boredom: Why it might just be good for kids

As parents, I’m sure we’ve all heard the usual words of “I’m BORED!”

It seems that no matter how many toys, video games, outside entertainment…some children just seem to revert to the thinking that there is zero exciting activity for them.

Currently children are bombarded with distractions from the moment they get to school, to sport or hobbies, the options never seem to end. However, is letting your child be bored such a bad thing?

Let’s look a little deeper into the issue.

Did You Know Being Bored Isn’t Such A Bad Thing For Children?

According to Teresa Belton (Visiting Fellow at the School of Education & Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia) there is something to be said for allowing a child to be left to their own devices, or to experience ‘being bored’.

“Children need time to themselves – to switch off from the bombardment of the outside world, to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, and discover personal interests and gifts,” she says.

Teresa Belton’s research has shown that when a child that engages in some low-key, undemanding activity, the wandering mind is more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems.

“Most parents would agree that they want to raise self-reliant individuals who can take initiatives and think for themselves. But filling a child’s time for them teaches nothing but dependence on external stimulus, whether material possessions or entertainment. Providing nurturing conditions and trusting children’s natural inclination to engage their minds is far more likely to produce independent, competent children, full of ideas.”

How Can We Bust The Boredom?

Craft can be king!

From magazines, to boxes, to material, to bubble wrap…never throw it away!

Find an empty cupboard or buy a large plastic tub and keep it filled with a wonderful array of “junk”. An empty cereal box can be cut up, painted and become a mini city? A toilet roll and some string can turn into an adventurer’s binoculars?

Need come crafty ideas – click here

Get the chore list done!

As parents it’s very easy to just switch on the tv and let them kids settle in, but how about you work on a few projects plans that might spring your child into action?

Could they help you do the weeding you meant to do?

Is the garage in need of a clear out?

Do the cars need a clean?

Have you planned dinner for the next few nights?

There’s a range of different household activities that kids can help you with. Remember, not only will it give them great life skills, but it will also get rid of the boredom!

Build your parent network

No parent likes a bored kid, so why not get all the kids together?

Start looking into creating a network of friends and family who might also be coping with a bored child and perhaps work on a timetable of play dates. Remember all parents are in the same boat so any support you can give (and receive) will work wonders!

Play dates don’t have to include expensive trips out either, why not get that craft box out again or set up a tent in the back yard – let the kids imagination go wild!

Remember next time your child complains of boredom:

  • Boredom gives children a chance to help with imagination and self-awareness.
  • Creative processes can stimulate interests that will stay with the child for life.
  • Children develop creative skills when they have to develop their own solutions to boredom.