Boredom is a Blessing
I know a lot of kids are used to being busy with activities and days full of running from place to place. They are having a harder time with this than homebody kids like mine. I know a lot of parents feel bad about not having enough for their kids to do or that they have to entertain them at the expense of their own sense of sanity. Your happiness counts just as much as your child’s. Remember that. A happy parent is more important for a happy child than we give credit to. Be firm with your rights to some quiet to read a book in private even if that leaves your child crying (safely) on the floor.
If someone wants advice, take it or leave it, my advice is to let them cry about being bored. Let them roll around the floor and complain that there is nothing to do. Fine. It’s not going to hurt them and it’s not your job to entertain them. I would say it’s the opposite. We need to allow them space to be bored and then learn to self-entertain. It’s one of the most important skills that our children can learn. I remember the days of milling around kicking a tin and having that allow my imagination free time to grow. I never would have developed the ability to be on my own and really really enjoy just being with my thoughts if I had been superficially entertained.
Once a child gets past the “boredom” phase a whole new world opens up to them. It’s a beautiful world that is unbounded by the constraints of time broken up into one thing or another…school time, travel to one activity in a rush than to another, playtime, bedtime. Time now belongs to them to explore their own hearts and minds. These kids have the time to learn at their own pace and to follow their interests down rabbit holes and see where they come out. Our world is gaining artists, musicians, true scientists, sociologists, mental health providers, software programmers, game developers, writers and poets, and most of all a generation that is thankful for the time they have had to spend with themselves and their family. Enjoy this time to allow them to be children.
Boredom is not only beautiful but mandatory to develop an active mind and a happy heart.
Taking hints from a Montessori Classroom: The prepared environment.
Imagine a child left in a room alone surrounded by:
A simple inexpensive musical instrument
Basic art supplies
Some books on making things and raw materials
Beads and cut string or pipe cleaners
Dress up clothes and a mirror
Some inspiring classical music or Broadway musicals playing in the background.
The child knows that they are left to their own in a safe environment and can’t reach outside of that environment for entertainment.
Add the makings for lunch or some kind of snack not fully assembled. Just bread and something to put on it? What will they do?
Imagine that child with nowhere to go and in comfortable clothes
Imagine the joy of discovery.
Where Boredom ends…discovery begins.