Every parent I know hates when their children say they are bored. These days, parents tend to feel guilty when their children are bored. Parents have advice being tossed their way every day on how to keep their children engaged. The message parents are being given is that they must fill their children stay with lots of things to keep them entertained. I know how that feels. For a long time, I felt guilty when my children said they were bored, feeling like I needed to fill the void. We had play dates, gymnastics, soccer practice, music lessons, and more to fill their lives with.
It didn’t take long to discover that I wasn’t alone in this. We, as parents, completely exhaust ourselves running around with their children to check off our to do list for creating children that are well rounded. Granted, I’m not arguing that children don’t need stimulation. But, when we are constantly filling their schedules with activities, we rob them of creating their own fun and the gift of boredom.
First, though, we need to stop seeing boredom as a bad word. Our children need time to be bored. Our culture tells us that we need to constantly be stimulated with activities, smart phones, tablets, television, and whatever else entertains us. Children these days don’t have a chance to be bored.
In reality, boredom is simply idle time. It isn’t something we parents need to cure. Instead, we need to embrace it as a time for the child to be creative and entertain themselves. This helps to build creative thinkers who are independent and confident. As you allow your child to be bored, you will see their curiosity and imagination thrive. It will be hard in the beginning, though, because children are use to us entertaining them constantly.
Sure, this is going to be difficult in the beginning. When children are not used to being bored, it will feel uncomfortable to them initially. You may need to give them some ideas on things to do to get them started filling their own time. Perhaps you can offer them some props and see where they go with it. With summer coming up, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice letting your children entertain themselves. Don’t stress, mom, they will figure it out and your family will be all the better for it.