Updated: Jun 15
The school year is almost over.
It is an unusual year and although it seems that it ended in March when the schools closed down, officially it will happen in a few days.
Soon, the whining about school and homework (or the lack of them), will be replaced with the cry that almost every parent knows: Mom/Dad, I’m bored!
Our instant response is to offer options: here is what you can do, things to play with, so many possibilities! Pretty soon we turn into sophisticated salespersons: “but it’s going to be fun! You should try it!”
Same story every time. Why can’t the kids keep themselves busy? How come it’s our job?
Well, probably since we never trained them to do so.
Boredom has bad PR!
When asking parents about boredom, I usually get three answers:
Boredom is bad - find something useful to do with your time. Why waste it when you can learn and develop yourself?
Boredom is scary - it can lead kids to take chances, go to dark places. It’s better to keep them busy and away from that
Boredom is a burden for the parents - a bored kid usually turns to his/her parents and that can be annoying. It’s better to fill his/her day with activities to prevent the nagging.
Boredom has gained some bad publicity, but the truth is that it has some advantages we should know about:
It helps to develop creativity - when we get bored, we ignite a network in our brain called the "default mode". Our body goes on autopilot while we're folding the laundry, going for a walk, or simply stare at the window. but actually that is when our brain gets really busy. According to researches, this is the time that allows sort of different connections in the brain to take place. During that time we solve some of our most nagging problems, we come up with new ideas, set goals for ourselves.
Coping with disappointment and frustration - for some of us, t’s not easy to be bored. it’s not something we usually choose for ourselves and it can lead to bad feelings. However, disappointment and frustration are emotions we have to deal with and the only way we can do that is by facing them and teaching ourselves how to overcome them.
Balanced life - most of us are leading a full life. So do our kids: school, after school activities, friends and family. Spending some time dedicated to nothing teaches us and them to balance between being active and resting, and allows us to stop and recharge.
So how can we prepare ourselves for summer break and the possible boredom moments?
Stay calm - as soon as you hear the cry “I’m bored!” don’t panic. try and remember the advantages of boredom. It’s ok to allow your child to be bored from time to time.
Have a daily activity - it’s easier to allow boredom between fixed activities.
Allow your kids to be responsible for ideas - a new game, traveling somewhere, making dinner. Let them be creative! usually kids with “nothing to do” will eventually invent some weird, fun game to play.
It’s a challenging time for parents. The transition from “Corona break” to “summer break”, while not knowing how fall will look like maybe extremely exhausting. But it may be an opportunity to allow our kids to take responsibility for parts of their everyday life.
Let us try not to take their boredom away from them. They might learn some important and fun lessons about themselves.