If I ask you “Have you ever allowed your child to get bored?” – you will probably guiltily say “No – I try to keep him entertained and engaged most of the time
Most parents feel extremely guilty when their children say they are bored.
“Mamma – I am bored” To the dedicated and committed parent, this statement sounds like an accusation. It feels like a personal affront.
And if you are the one being accused – you jump up to correct the situation. To make things right.
You rush around to arrange an activity for your child. Or if you can’t – you arrange for entertainment by switching on the TV or another device.
But should you?
Should you assume responsibility for your child’s entertainment?
Should you wallow in guilt if they are bored?
The answer is NO.
Here are 7 reasons why you should allow your child to get bored. You can also watch the reasons you should allow your child to get bored as a video post
7 reasons you should allow your child to get bored
1. Creativity is the mind’s voice that can only be heard in the silence of boredom.
Children need to have time in which they are doing nothing. They need to get bored in order to use their imagination and unleash their creativity. Children must be taught to cope with the panic of boredom so that they can reach the stage where the brain can be creative
2. Children need to get bored to start dreaming
It is important that children have the time to just “stand and stare” so that they can observe and dream. Dreams are essential. Every invention and innovation was someone’s dream before it became reality
3. Boredom is an opportunity for self-discovery
Boredom is the child’s opportunity to spend time with himself – to listen to what his mind and heart are saying and find out who he really is.
4. Being alone and unoccupied is an exercise in building self-esteem
Being alone and potentially bored tells your child that he does not constantly require someone else to be happy. In the silence of boredom children smile to themselves and say “I like myself.” “I enjoy my own company.”
5. Constantly providing entertainment can set children up for failure
Rushing to entertain your child whenever he is bored or diligently filling every minute of your child’s day with “things to do” is a mistake. When children are occupied like this, they begin to expect constant stimulation and instant gratification. This can set up children for failure, because as is well known – success is always the result of persistence and the ability to endure the torture of delayed gratification – both of which are extremely boring. Instant fixes to boredom can also kill the motivation and self-reliance required to organize entertainment.
6. Devices are the wrong way to escape boredom.
Devices offer entertainment temporarily. They set off the Dopamine reward circuit in the brain which makes your child crave devices when they are not around – much like an addiction
7. Enduring Boredom is an essential life skill
It is important to teach children how to endure boredom. Because as they grow older – bored children are likely to turn to dangerous activities and substance abuse to satisfy their brain’s demand for stimulation.
What should you do when your child says he is Bored
A child who is complaining of being bored is not necessarily saying that he has nothing to do. Here is what a child who says he is bored could be saying. You can also watch it in this video post that tells you what you should do when your child is bored.
I am bored = I want your attention
No matter where children are or what they are doing – what keeps them going is the fact that they belong to their parents. Children thrive on attachment. It is the fuel that keeps them going. At short intervals – children need to refuel with parental love before they can enjoy their own company again. When children crave attachment and parental company it causes them actual physical discomfort. It either makes them lethargic and listless because they are lonely, or agitated and restless because they are anxious. In the majority of cases – this is what they mean when they say they are bored.
What you should do – Make eye contact with your child. Draw him into a bear hug. And rejuvenate him with a smile and if possible some laughter.
I am bored = I can’t sit still anymore. I need to move around
Bodies are meant to move. Movement makes us happy. Movement improves our mood and helps us concentrate. When we move, the mind perceives the environment around us changing because the view in front of our eyes keeps changing. Since boredom is the inability to connect with the environment – tricking the brain into believing that the environment is changing, makes it happy. Moving around also helps children to get closer to the objects in their environment. They are able to look more closely, touch and feel and thereby connect better with their environment – thus alleviating boredom.
What you should do – Allow children to move around. Allow jumping dancing and shouting. Yes – children need to vent all that energy. It is wrong to restrict them. Just let them be.
I am bored = I want some unscheduled time for self-directed play
Children are not just bored when they have nothing to do – they are bored when they have too much to do. Overscheduling a child with a host of activities and entertainment means that he has absolutely no control over his own life. When a child engages in self-directed play he challenges himself just enough. The activity is neither too easy – nor too difficult. He also has full control. He can stop the activity he is involved in or switch to another activity as he pleases without worrying about another person’s reaction.
What you should do – Allow children to play on their own. Don’t be afraid of messes.
Remedy what children perceive as boredom, but teach children to encounter and endure actual boredom.
Because as Leo Buscaglia said and I quote
“A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil. Too much travel, too much variety of impressions, are not good for the young, and cause them as they grow up to become incapable of enduring fruitful monotony.
A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow processes of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.