WHY BOREDOM IS GOOD FOR YOUR CHILD
Most parents have a difficult time to deal with their child being bored. We feel it is our responsibility to keep our child entertained at all times and might even feel guilty if we do not respond to our child’s need to be busy. When a child starts to get bored and complains about it, our natural tendency is to solve her problem right away. Structured activities and technological entertainment are the most common solutions. However, studies have shown multiple benefits to the boredom state.
Here are a few benefits:
1. Boredom improves creativity. When a child is given the opportunity to have unstructured time, she is free to explore her inner and outer worlds, which is the beginning of creativity. Imagining, inventing, and creating are essential to the development of a healthy child. Building a fort in the backyard, make a monster from clay, or writing a short story or song are activities leading to the passions that make life meaningful.
2. Boredom is beneficial to your child’s psychological well-being. After some minor complaining, your child will find something interesting to do. Self-directed play is constructive because play is a child’s work. It is how your child works out emotions and experiences she has had. When a child plays freely, she learns how to work collaboratively, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and stand her for herself. In free play, the child has control and practice asserting it.
3. Boredom teaches how to manage time. One of the biggest challenge as an adult is to learn to manage time well. So, a child needs unstructured time to learn how to use it. Her experience will teach her to manage time in her best interest.
So, next time your child tells you she is bored, how can you respond?
You need to take into consideration her question seriously and focus on your child for a few minutes. Even though it is your child’s job to figure out what to do, you are here to help her brainstorm ideas with her. You may want to create a Boredom Jam filled with ideas written on pieces of paper. You and your child can both contribute to write the ideas. Then, when your child says she is bored, she can pick three pieces of paper from the jar and choose an activity to do.
Here are a few ideas for a Boredom Jar: make a dollhouse out of cardboard, make a birthday card for the next person you know is having a birthday, put on some music and dance, get a magnet and make a list of everything that is magnetized in your house, make a zoo for the stuffed animals, make an obstacle course, have a water balloon fight (outside!),…
Instead of looking at boredom as an issue, let’s see it as an opportunity for your child to be creative, to learn to manage time, and to benefit her psychological well-being. Every child could take advantage of being bored as this could be the beginning of an exploration of her inner and outer worlds.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.