It’s the cry that sends shivers down the spines of adults everywhere, “I’m bored!” This home-based learning system is like a snow day that never ends. It may be nice weather outside, but your children can’t go to the park, can’t see their friends, can’t go to school, and can’t do their typical sporting activities. It’s so tempting to allow children lots of screen time, or make a schedule that keeps them entertained nonstop. However, we know that screen time is detrimental to children (and, let’s face it – adults as well!). Have you ever thought of the benefits of allowing your children to experience boredom? It’s actually something that is very helpful for children!
Boredom Leads to Motivation
Allowing your child to experience boredom allows your children to be motivated to find something to do. When the typical solutions aren’t available, children will begin to look elsewhere for ideas that motivate them. If they can’t play video games or watch TV, they may suddenly find themselves motivated to do the tasks you’ve been encouraging them to tackle. This is a great way to help them feel motivated to do chores or try something new. When I was a child, my family had to take shelter for several hours during a tornadic storm. Without being able to leave the room, and bored out of our minds, my father suddenly decided to teach the family how to do headstands and other funny poses. I would never have even attempted such a thing, but boredom gave us all the motivation to try. I have the best memories of us all falling over together and laughing in our hiding area with the threat of a tornado outside.
Boredom Leads to Creativity
When you are bored, you become more willing to explore, use your imagination, and be creative. This could lead to your child trying their cooking skills and inventing some…interesting recipes, exploring fashion, making up games, and finding new and exciting ways to entertain themselves. The game Candy Land was invented out of boredom during the Polio crisis. Who knows? Your child may be the next big inventor!
Boredom Strengthens Problem-Solving Skills
When you have plenty of time to think about something, and are forced to be creative, you truly hone your problem-solving skills. Boredom allows children to think “outside of the box,” to try new challenges, and to become determined. It’s just like when you are solving a puzzle and you think you are so close, so you keep trying new things. Pretty soon, you realize that you’ve been working on it for three hours! You’re developing grit AND looking at a project in a new way.
Boredom Gives Chances to Fail
As much as we don’t like to see children fail, we know that failure is a part of life. Allowing children to fail teaches them resolve, helps them deal with feelings of loss, helps them be a better sport, and helps them understand that short-term failure doesn’t mean long-term failure. Children who explore and create during boredom have a safe way to experience those feelings on a smaller scale, preparing them for greater challenges ahead.
The next time that your child cries, “I’m bored!” try not to make suggestions of what they could do. Let them figure it out! Don’t allow them to fall into the electronic babysitter trap – give them time to be bored, and they will develop life-long learning and coping skills!