There are two little words that can strike dread into the hearts of parents everywhere.
Upon hearing the words ‘I’m bored,’ (usually pronounced ‘I’m bo-ooo-r-ud’) there are many parents who feel a need to get busy. They become frenetic entertainers, moving quickly through their ‘bag of tricks’ to find the idea or activity that will put an end to that dreaded condition called boredom.
Why are kids bored and why do so many parents feel that it’s their job to ‘fix’ it?
If every time the little people tell us they are bored we respond like a cruise ship activities director, what do we teach them? The unspoken message may easily be something we do not intend. Here are some examples:
• You are entitled to be passively entertained.
• Your uncomfortable feelings are very important.
• Uncomfortable feelings should be avoided at all costs.
• Someone or something outside of you is responsible for ‘fixing’ your feelings.
[Tweet “Are you entitled to be passively entertained?”]
Even if they’re not getting those messages from your actions have you considered what happens when you’re not there to entertain them? How will they function as part of a group or in a classroom when we’ve managed to fill every waking moment ‘stimulating’ them?
While I’m a big fan of introducing children to new ideas and experiences I think that it’s important to balance those experiences. How do we help children to develop the skills that they need to constructively manage boredom all on their own?
[Tweet “Let’s face it, there’s always something to do.”]
Let’s face it, there’s always something to do. And, given the opportunity, children will discover them things. We need only manage some of our own uncomfortable feelings and wait to find out what they will decide to do. You might be pleasantly surprised.
This post has been incorporated into a longer piece here.