The New York Times recently published a story about why occasional boredom is actually good for kids. I'm sure that topic sounds nightmarish to you as a parent right now in the height of summer, and if so, you're not alone. You'd rather be met with an appreciative "thank you" for being the taxi driver and snack provider and fun manager, not summoned with whining about being bored.
What can boredom lead to besides headaches for parents? And how to we allow boredom to happen without rushing to squelch the feeling with a screen? Here are 2 thoughts on bored kids.
First, we have to get comfortable with it.
Yes, your kids will ask you for something to do and no, you do not have to provide an awe-inspiring, Pinterest-worthy playdate, game, or scavenger hunt. Simply offer a short list of already available toys or games or ideas. And no, you don't have to play with your child when he or she feels bored. In fact, engaging in solo play, or play with peers (without adults) is quite beneficial. It allows your child to use his imagination and make decisions. It supports her problem-solving skills and creativity.
Second, we can support the process with encouragement.
If your child is always met with built-in entertainment from you, a screen, another adult or an organized activity, they haven't yet been given the chance to know what their interests are and what truly sparks intrigue and curiosity inside of them. Those are the foundations for learning and personal identity. They are what help your children become the unique individuals they're meant to be. So go ahead and tell your kiddos it's okay if they feel bored. It might take some time to get used to the feeling if it's new, but don't be afraid of it. Lean into it and let the process of fun, imaginative play and curiosity turn into creations of their own design.