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It’s okay for kids to be bored. Being bored is a good thing.
The world is a very busy place these days. People are often on the go with little time to stop and smell the roses. We don’t often get time to be bored because we often have an endless to do list that we never, ever get to the bottom of.
That’s why it can be hard to understand when kids complain they are bored. And when they do, we often tell or give them something to do.
Some kids get bored often, and with it comes many choruses of “I’m booooorrrrrrrrrrred,” which fills many parents with dread. Other kids don’t have much chance to get bored between school, other activities and time spent on electrical devices.
But when they complain of boredom, it becomes second nature to find something for them to do.
But what if we didn’t? What would happen?
You may hear choruses of “I’m bored, I’m bored!” for several hours, or you may be surprised at what they discover to fill their boredom void.
But they have the same thing in common. They need to learn how to occupy themselves and find things for themselves to do.
I think a lot of us have the tendency to feel like being bored is a bad thing. That if our children aren’t constantly busy, then there is something wrong and we need to find them things to do.
But you don’t have to fill every minute of every day of your child’s life.
Think of boredom as an opportunity. An opportunity for them to discover things about themselves. To try new things. To explore, to discover.
If they aren’t occupied with something else, they are more likely to try something they don’t normally do.
Letting kids be bored isn’t the most catastrophic thing most of us think it is.
There are many benefits to letting kids get bored.
Kids become more creative.
The creative processes they learn in their times of boredom can stay with them for the rest of their lives. They will find it easier to solve problems and see the positivity in things.
Their imagination can take off as they find ways to amuse themselves.
Everyday objects can become just about anything. The more they let their mind wander, the more their imagination has the possibility to soar.
Encourages independent thoughts
They become more independent thinkers as boredom encourages them to think for themselves and to think of things in a different way.
They are more likely to try new things.
When they don’t have anything else to occupy their time, they are more likely to try things they hadn’t previously considered, and find new things that they enjoy.
It helps develop their problem solving skills.
As they find themselves bored in various places or situations, they will find themselves trying to come up with things that will work to solve problems they come up against
It helps to build their sense of discovery.
They discover more things about themselves and the world. When their minds have some time to just stop and think, they can find other things they find interesting and things that excite them. A new project, a new hobby or something they enjoy doing.
Boredom can create a sense of belonging.
Instead of feeling like they are living in someone else’s world, they are living in a world they are helping to create. Finding things out about themselves and the world around them from their own point of view. Not someone else’s.
Being bored can make their childhood happier.
When they look back on their childhood, they are more likely to remember the things they created, the memories they made when they let their imaginations go wild. The things they thought they could never do. The experiences they had.
A mind that has more time to think is easier able to come up with creative thoughts and unexpected ideas.
Kids should let their minds wander from time to time. It’s not only good for creativity and imagination, but quiet reflection is good for mental health and becoming more in tune with themselves. And that helps with the way they see themselves.
Children need to think of ways to occupy themselves and not rely on others to fill every moment of their lives. They need to realise that not everything in life is fun and games. There will be many, many times when things are boring. They need to find their own amusement, make their own fun.
And there will come a point where they don’t even have to think about it. It will just happen.
It’s the benefits of boredom that make letting kids be bored worthwhile.
Making the change for children who previously had things given to them to occupy them and are having to find ways to amuse themselves can be difficult at first. But it gets easier.
Kids need time to daydream, to just sit and think, to get to know themselves better and find the things they need to do to make themselves happy.
If your child is having trouble finding things to do, you can create a Boredom Buster Jar together. Think of some things to do, write them down and place them in a jar. Come up with some things they might like to do.
Examples of things to do when kids are bored
Read a book – Click here for ways to encourage your child to love reading
Write a letter to a friend or relative
Put on music and dance
Write a story – Click here to find the benefits of writing
Write a song
Write a journal or diary
Make a book
Make a dollhouse
Make a spaceship out of boxes
Make a fort
Make your own musical instruments
Paint rocks or shells
Make play doh
Build something with popsticks
Make a pasta necklace
Make puppets with socks or paper bags (or anything you have really)
Make your own vegetable garden
Make a treasure map and hide some “treasure” around the house for someone to find
Draw a picture of your dream house – the more crazy the better
Learn some new card games
Create your own board game
Make an obstacle course
Make some salt dough and make hand prints or some ornaments
Make a scrapbook
Find an object around the house and think of an alternate use for it
Play the ‘what if’ game. What if dogs could talk? What if everyone lived on the moon? What if…?
Give them some prompts and see what they can come up with.
After getting the ball rolling, you will likely find they start to come up with new ideas all on their own. Sometimes it just takes a bit to get them started. It becomes exciting. There are so many things that can really set their imagination on fire.
And after awhile you will realise it’s been awhile since you’ve heard the dreaded, “I’m booooorrrrrrrrrrred.” Once they learn to occupy themselves, they won’t need to bug you to find them things to do.
Boredom can make our kids more creative and more capable.
It’s just when we don’t allow our kids the space to think and dream and let their imaginations soar, it becomes stifled and they don’t know how to amuse themselves anymore.
Imagination is an amazing thing, and it can really come alive when a child is bored.
Being bored is an important lesson for kids to find their meaning of life. Figure out who they are, what they enjoy and what they don’t. They find their unique view of the world.
So next time your kids tell you they are bored, let them figure out something for themselves, and see what they can come up with.
How many times do kids complain that they are bored without even thinking for themselves what they could do?
You don’t need to feel frustrated thinking what to get them to do when your kids start whining that they’re bored. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to figure things out for themselves.
What do you do when your kids tell you they are bored? Or what have your kids come up with to overcome their own boredom?