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But I’m bored! Is that a phrase you have heard all too often these days? It seems we’ve become a society that cannot deal with bored kids. And we feel like we have to immediately placate them and fix the boredom with more and more activities. Usually with some sort of technological device in the mix.
Let me say one thing now. Stop it! Right now! You do not have to fix your kid’s boredom. This is not a problem! It is an opportunity!
Our human minds are not designed to be stimulated every moment of the day. They need time away from screens and the constant stimulation in our technologically crowded lives. We need to make sure our children have this down time from these things too.
Boredom sparks creativity
Letting there be bored kids in your life is going to help their creativity; now and later in life. If everything is handed to them, children don’t work out how to tackle challenges that crop up in life. And if they can’t handle the small things now or what to do in the backyard with limited resources, then how can we expect them to deal well with problems as adults.
Creative play is something we want to encourage in our children at an early age. It helps expand their minds and practice lots of skills they need, including using language in different forms. But they often don’t want to use their minds to invent new scenarios to play out if they’re just being fed a constant stream of YouTube videos. They sometimes need to have a bit of boredom as the stimulus to go and use those brains instead.
How to create an environment that supports bored kids?
Firstly, take the technology away. I won’t say it doesn’t have its uses at times, but for boredom to happen, and more creative experiences to occur, you are going to need to take it away from your child for a little bit. And yes, this may mean a few tantrums will happen.
Some of the best things to use to help support your bored kids expand their creative and thinking skills are objects with multiple uses. Children unused to doing some thinking for themselves are not going to cope well if you take the iPad off them and hand them something that has only one possible use (in their minds at least).
Instead try objects that can be a multitude of things. The old classic is the cardboard box. It can be a cubby, a bus, a rocketship or a shop. Other examples could be some paper and craft supplies that they have free reign over, or wooden blocks. Or a simple stick that can be a digging tool, a pen, a magic wand, and a paintbrush.
Once your child has gotten the hang of being able to creatively play with multiple use items, they will start to see the possibility in other items. My three year old is getting quite good at this now, and can make a phone from anything lying around the house and will have conversations with dolls about the right way to behave (based on what is expected at daycare). And given a set of dinosaur will happily retell The Three Billy Goats Gruff story. Other things like Busy Book activities by Heart Moments might also be used in multiple ways.
Hopefully you can now see the value in allowing yourself to see kids being bored as not a problem, but the opportunity to develop more creativity in their lives.
If you liked this post, you may enjoy more of my articles on parenting. Comment below what things your bored kids have enjoyed.