“I am so bored!”
When we hear our children groan these little words, it can be triggering for parents. A wave of emotions starts flooding in. These little words can have a big effect on our attitude.
We might feel:
- responsible to meet an expressed need no matter the immediacy
- aggravated that we are being disturbed or interrupted from our work
- envious of the feeling of having NOTHING to do while we seem to be always busy
- worried that even a moment of memorable childhood might be wasted by just sitting around
- obligated to impart some lifelong lesson about productivity and self-motivation
Let Boredom Be
What if we CELEBRATED boredom? What if we allowed those bored feelings to settle and stay for a while and just let it be. What if we said nothing or did nothing. What if we just let boredom be.
Boredom carries a little bit of a negative connotation. How dare we be bored when we have so many things to entertain us. We are so deeply established in a culture of entertainment and busyness that boredom has all but been banished even. This absence of boredom has taken with it the ability to be still and silent, to be creative, and to be playful. It is an uncomfortable feeling to be bored and it is even more uncomfortable to be near someone that is bored. So, solving boredom with a task or device can be a huge relief and might even feel like a win or success when that boredom is combated.
But at what cost?
Children Need Boredom
We will say it again — children NEED boredom. It stimulates the brain, builds resilience, balances the body, and leads to creative ideas and imagination. If we want to support play and creativity, we must allow for the feelings and frustration of boredom (for our kids and for ourselves). We need to stay outside. Ignore our own feeling of being bored. Fight the urge to entertain a bored child and even fight the urge to be entertained. Cease teaching and explaining. Model patience in the process of being bored.
It’s not easy, but you can do it. If you get bored while your children are playing, you are nailing it! It is okay to be bored.