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Why Kids Should be Bored

Why Boredom is Good for Your Child

We’ve all heard it, “I’m boooooored.”  One of the most exasperating statements a parent or caregiver can hear.  But guess what, it is really good for kids to be bored. 

Research shows that constructive boredom in children is essential to their mental and emotional development.  Children do not need to be constantly entertained, nor do they need a screen with them at all times to alleviate boredom.  However, and this is a big however, kids do need guidance from parents and caregivers if their boredom is to be constructive.  Frankly, a little bit of innocent mischief is good for kids. 

Researchers found that constructively bored individuals seek out and engage in satisfying activities which leads to more creativity and a boost in self-esteem.

In children boredom helps build a child’s imagination.  Studies have shown that children who avoid boredom or are constantly provided with entertainment (such as screens) are more easily frustrated.  Over time these children struggle to express themselves creatively and find personal satisfaction. 

Child development experts agree that over-scheduling children could ultimately keep kids from discovering what truly interests them.  Dr. Lyn Fry, a child psychologist said, “Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society.  Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy.  If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child is never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

Here are some ways you can create an environment to foster constructively bored kids:

1.        Create a list of things to do.  Help your child to brainstorm activities.  When he or she is bored consult the list.  Don’t pick for your child.  Examples include reading a book, going for a bike ride, cooking dinner, putting on a play, taking pictures, playing cards,  etc.

2.        Have designated paly areas for the kids.  This could be inside or outside.

3.       Periodically structure some unstructured time for kids.  The irony of this is apparent, but with scheduled kids this is the reality.

4.       Encourage outdoor play.  Let kids explore and get dirty.  Let them dig, climb and explore. 

 

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