“Your child’s untapped creativity and motivation lie just beyond the feeling of monotony...being bored allows children to discover their passions and re-discover their imagination.”

 

Growing up, there were three words I dared not utter in the presence of my mother. “I am bored.”

If those words ever leaked from my lips, I was guaranteed hours of yard and housework. As a child, I learned very quickly how to occupy my time in more interesting ways. 

As parents, we have all heard our children complain of boredom. Yet, why do our children seem more bored today than when we were kids? Psychologists believe that today’s children are over scheduled, over- entertained, and overindulged. Between school, tutoring, music lessons, class activities, and Netflix, our children fill their entire waking hours with constant stimulation and activity. However, researchers suggest that this is doing more harm than good. 

Your child’s untapped creativity and motivation lie just beyond the feeling of monotony. Psychologists affirm that boredom helps children to focus and self-regulate. It allows time and space to foster creativity, intrinsic motivation, and problem-solving. Being bored allows children to discover their passions and re-discover their imagination.  

Furthermore, managing tedium is a life skill. The real world can be a real bore. The most successful adults are those that can respond positively to boredom by pursuing new goals, solving difficult problems, and innovating. Overcoming boredom teaches us to manage our time and tasks productively and creatively.

Dr. Michael Unger writes, “The antidote to boredom is to provide children with an environment that lets them experience autonomy (the ability to work a little on their own), control (the right to have a say over what they do), challenge (a small push beyond their comfort zone), and intrinsic motivation (the motivation comes from inside them). Notice that the antidote to boredom is not an environment that programs children or removes responsibility from children to solve the problem of under-stimulation themselves.” 

As parents, we can help our children respond appropriately to boredom by: 

  • Not over-scheduling their days
  • Allowing for screen-free & unstructured time
  • Encouraging imagination & creativity
  • Discussing future goals/interests
  • Not solving your child’s boredom problem

With the weekend approaching, remember that being bored is not the enemy. Helping our children manage unstructured times in creative, screen-free, and productive ways helps them grow into resourceful and motivated adults and unleashes the untapped power of boredom.

Written by Shantel Seevaratnam

Mrs. Shantel Seevaratnam is passionate about children becoming God seekers, lifelong learners, and caring global citizens. She has a Master’s in Education and has been with the school since 2008, first in the role of Kindergarten teacher and then Elementary principal.
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