Are you sick of hearing the statement ‘I’m bored’ – especially during the school holidays?
It’s natural to feel the need to constantly occupy children and engage them in various activities which can be positive, especially for their mental and physical wellbeing.
However, have you ever considered that it might actually be a good thing to let your child be bored every now and again?
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to allow children to be bored:
1. It builds creativity
Being bored gives children the space to try things on their own. A child’s imagination is something that, as adults, we are often in awe of.
How a child creates their version of reality from nothing is a wonderful thing to watch. It helps build their curiosity and explore what they like to do!
It is important for children to learn to think of ways to occupy themselves, to enjoy activities that are not arranged, structured or organised by someone else. You might be surprised to learn what they enjoy!
2. It develops problem solving skills!
Being bored will help children develop problem-solving skills. In a generation where children can be over-stimulated, they can feel uncomfortable if they don’t have anything to do.
However, boredom can encourage initiative and problem-solving, as they have to rely on themselves to tackle the ‘problem’ of being bored.
3. It encourages interpersonal skills
Having unstructured time to play with other children will help your child develop interpersonal skills. If children are given time and space with nothing to distract them, it helps them to learn negotiation and engage effectively with other children.
They are learning to communicate, make eye contact and read body language, things that can only be learned from experience. Boredom builds confidence.
4. It helps boost self-esteem
When your child has the opportunity to play or have fun alone, and is able to do so successfully, it gives their self-esteem a boost.
When they have free time, they can try new things, test their limits and take risks which will build their self-confidence!
Allowing time to just “be” gives children the opportunity to think their own thoughts and get to know themselves better.
5. It creates happy childhood memories
If children are always busy with some focused activity, they take their surroundings for granted. However, it’s important that they have the chance to engage with their environment and develop a sense of belonging and care about where they live.
When adults talk about their childhood memories, it can often be the simple things they remember like making mud pies, picking and eating raspberries, climbing trees!
Sometimes the activities that we think are making childhood richer are just getting in the way of a simple but contented life!
It can be difficult at first to allow children to be bored as they may not know how to do it, you may have to help them along by giving ideas and making suggestions, but once they start getting used to it, it will get better.
Below are some suggestions to help: