“I’m bored” “I don’t know what to do.” “What can I do, Mama?” The sounds of summer for some, the sounds of just about every day all year round for others. Kids get bored.
Does it stress you out?
This may not be a popular opinion, but you don’t have to create a boredom plan for every moment of your child’s life. Or maybe this opinion would be more popular if it were more acceptable to follow this advice. Relax, don’t let a bored child get to you. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it may be the beginning of something good!
Do you ever feel like you need to entertain your children every moment of the day, all day? Perhaps it’s due to an overdose on Pinterest scrolling or the fact that a lot of people you know have enrolled their children in more activities than you can count on one hand. Whatever it is, there is definitely pressure to keep your kids busy with the right activities to help them in their development. Maybe you’re scared that if you DON’T keep your kids busy, you’re not providing them with what they need to succeed.
Rest assured that this is certainly not the case. You can actually help your child by allowing a bit of boredom in their life. Why? There’s a long list of benefits to letting your child figure out how to use their time on their own. What are some of them?
Benefits of Boredom
If your child is allowed to be bored at times, it’s likely they’ll develop the following skills:
- Independence – Your child will independently find a solution, meaning that they feel more in charge of themselves. Rather than being dependent (the opposite of independent) on an adult to direct them, children find something to do.
- Creativity – When your child is bored, they are more likely to work hard to come up with something interesting to entertain themself. If you’re riding in the car or in a waiting room, your child might begin imagining a story in their head, searching for certain kinds of cars out the window or similar. However, if your child watches a video or plays a game on your phone instead, this opportunity is lost.
- Problem-solving skills – The problem? Boredom. The solution? It could be anything really. That’s the beauty of being bored. Your child has the chance to work through this real-life problem and explore their possible responses and reactions. Sometimes your child might whine or get angry. Sometimes they might wander around the house or wherever you are to seek ideas for what to do. You can help your child cultivate healthy coping mechanisms for boredom. More on these later.
- Boosts self-motivation – Ever used an exciting opening to get your child to try a new activity? You might use an enthusiastic tone of voice, or explain what the benefits of the activity will be. When your child is bored and allowed to struggle through it until they pick an activity on their own, they have to be their own motivator. With no outside voice telling them how much fun it will be to build a Lego replica of the empire state building, they’ll have to discover the motivation to undertake such an activity on their own.
If you’re curious to learn what psychologists are saying about the importance of children experiencing boredom, check out this article.
What did Montessori say?
Montessori believed that children needed to build skills to become independent. That’s one of the reasons why she emphasized practical life so strongly, especially for the youngest students. In addition, in any Montessori classroom, children are in charge of picking meaningful activities to engage in. Although guidance is provided from teachers, children are largely responsible for picking their own work.