Benefits of Boredom
It’s the end of summer, the camps are done, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and school is just around the corner. For my children, the complaints of ‘I am so bored’ have begun. Of course, my response is; ‘That’s excellent, have SO much fun with your boredom.’ As expected, there are grumbles all around for a few moments and then miraculously, each child becomes absorbed in an activity that often leads to something magical.
The magic could be them playing together in harmony for much longer than usual, a very cool art project, the discovery of a magnificently gross organic matter in the backyard, or a long, delicious phone conversation with one of their friends who does not live close by.
Boredom is something we fight tooth and nail as humans and something we need to invite, welcome and relish. As adults, we fight this just as much and I feel that it’s a disservice to ourselves, so I figure if I can help my children foster this ability, just a little bit, that will help them as they grow older.
So when your child(ren) come to you with expressions of bored either say ‘Congratulations’ or use one of our parents responses that I am sure each of us remember from our childhoods; ‘You’re bored? Boy, do I have things for you to do….’.
Happily, either response garners the same results.
I suspect the reason kids say they’re bored is because they don’t have enough time with other kids. What do you think? Parents enjoy living in nice homes in suburban USA (read not close enough to other homes – and chances of other children in the neighborhood playing together or just hanging out are low) and kids state their need for other kids in “I am bored.”
We have no T.V. in our summer home and as we transition there intially, I, too, hear comments about boredom. But what ends up happening is “magical” because we have the asset of nature surrounding us. The kids explore the outdoors – garden, build habitats,observe butterlfies, check in on nesting cardinals & build bird feeders. And they listen. They listen to the ebb and flow of nature & are attuned to this natural pulse. They wonder about the red-tailed hawk and what it’s having for dinner. They observe. They see if the bunny is visiting today with its mother and nibbling near the black vole that lives by our front steps. It is truly “magical”. Thanks for this post, Kim.