It’s Better For Your Kids To Be Bored

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Parents often feel guilty when their children whine “I’m bored!” The immediate instinct is to jump to the rescue to solve the dreaded boredom. Often this involves switching on a device or the TV.  Problematically, children learn very young that this tactic works and once they see the result, the whining only increases. 

Parents should give themselves permission to see boredom as an opportunity rather than a problem. A parent’s role is to understand that for children to solve their own issues with feelings of boredom they need space and time and possibly permission to make a mess (within limits). 

Children may need some materials too in order to use their imaginations, but these do not need to be sophisticated. Remember the toddler that is more fascinated with the box than the expensive gift inside. For preschoolers, perhaps some colored tape, paper tubes from wrapping paper or paper towels, a sheet, a large piece of paper and some markers or play dough.  Elementary age kids may enjoy all the above, but you can always add pieces of wood or blocks, fabric and glue. It is amazing what kids can create if given a little time and space.

Parents know better than anyone that if kids can be outside, all the better, as nature provides many materials to be creative. An added bonus is that making a mess outside means no clean up is required. 

Letting a child explore and play on their own encourages lifelong values of curiosity, perseverance, playfulness, interest and confidence. Using their imagination is also necessary for developing empathy, a skill we at Curly Clues Club encourage and value highly.

In boredom there is a lesson for all of us. By doing nothing, setting your phone or computer aside, letting the mind wander, getting out in nature, you can unleash your inner creativity. Maybe we should all give ourselves permission to have more boredom in our lives.

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Curly Clues Club is a monthly box delivery service for kids ages 3-8, focused on social and emotional development.

 

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Jane Koerbel