I know I have written about this subject before however, I also know from listening to parents, that so many still struggle when their children say they are bored. So many parents think it is their responsibility to solve the problem for their children instead of giving the child, no matter what age, the amazing opportunity to learn how to solve that problem for themselves.
I read an article in the newspaper recently that reinforces the important message that needs to get out there amongst us all both for children and adults. The article was about the importance of boredom being a part of a child’s life and how it is essential to the child’s development.
Whilst many parents cringe when their child declares they are bored, parents should be celebrating knowing that this is healthy and has the potential to produce resilience and learnings.
Boredom is actually a vital component of children’s learning.
It is amazing what they can come up with when they are left to create the solution without parents solving the problem for them by giving them something to do. Boredom pushes them to learn problem-solving solutions, as they look at the predicament and work out how they can be involved in something pleasurable instead of straying bored.
They are learning how to be independent and think for themselves and often how to involve others in whatever project they come up with, this becomes the building blocks for social skills. They are often learning skills that assist them in their studies at school, like maths, literacy and science without even realising it. When kids experiment with even the most common toys they become educational tools that teach them anything from cause and effect (LEGO) to money management (Monopoly), the learning opportunities really are endless.
Imagination is such a key component to our life skills.
It can help with creating new inventions, without imagination, there would be no novels to read, no movies to watch and no arts of any kind. I am always amazed at the clever artworks of our Little Miracles children and often wonder how many will become artists. Imagination is often triggered by children when they become bored and need something to do.
In a Sun Herald article from the 19th of January called Letting your kids be bored is helping them learn, Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Education from the University of New South Wales, is quoted as saying, “You rarely pick up anything new, any new idea or new ways of thinking about things unless you find yourself in a situation where don’t have anything to do and you say ‘I’m bored’.”
For a child to experience the excitement of having created something is so crucial to their self-esteem no matter how small. They learn how to be resilient when they attempt something and it doesn’t work, then trying again and finding another way to bring success. Nothing breeds success like success does, they are learning so many skills for life from being bored and having to come up with their own answer.
When my children were on school holidays, I always loved watching them create things like bike jumps, bonfires in winter making them as high as they could (whilst making sure it was safe), games they came up with in the pool, on the trampoline, up the trees, dressing up the dog, playing with LEGO for hours, hide and seek, makeshift tents inside and outside are just a few they enjoyed for hours and days.
My daughter Anna, being a qualified Early Childhood Teacher, has a fabulous array of activities prepared so her children can go at any time, select whatever interests them and create craft/art of all varieties. Having books available for children is very helpful, buying ones that you know really catch their attention is important, allocated periods of time on the iPad and TV is all good too, they just need to be monitored. Remember, it is not your responsibility as a parent to keep your child occupied, it’s your responsibility to help them push through and find a solution to their boredom. Even we adults have to overcome boredom at times and hopefully we are capable of solving that situation for ourselves because we learnt how to as young children and teenagers.