Should Kids be Bored: Holiday Quandary

I had a relative who would always say, “Children don’t always need to be busy, let them be bored sometimes.” He would go on and on about how parents keep their children too busy in life… Since then I’ve read more articles on the topic. Plus, I’ve seen parents who have their children in a multitude of classes, on top of school. No judgment from me, just observance.

After I birthed my child, I found myself busy, but it was more so for me than my child. We went from the “Tummy time” Gymboree classes at 6 weeks old, to group playdates on Meetup, to more “Mommy and Me” classes. I joined groups for connection, and when my son got a little older, I put him in martial arts. Though I wanted him to take other classes like music, I didn’t have the finances to put him in multiple programs. That turned out to be a good thing. We played a lot, we created science experiments, we read, and we explored.

Now I have an active 10.5-year-old who likes to stay busy. He’s in school all day, then an after-school program that keeps him busy. I on the other hand, am a relaxed, reflective parent who often works at home.  We are currently on a Winter break and have 1 more week of play time. My son wants to be busy, I am reflecting on the whole “Children need to be bored” philosophy. It’s tempting to fill up the space with activities. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just do see the value of “boredom,” or allowing children the “spaciousness” to create.

Today is a pj day for example. I’m testing new tea blends, we’re having a “phone-free” day (Which means no electronic games or phone social media), and we get to be creative with our time.

After breakfast we started our “Cooking with Kids” project by making homemade gluten-free cinnamon rolls. While the dough is rising, my son decided to play basketball in the house. I felt inspired to write and of course in my busin-ness my son wanted to constantly interact while playing ball. That’s sweet, it really is. Like stay-at-home parents often report, having one’s child(ren) follow you around talking, and wanting complete attention at all times, can make a parent want to scream after a few hours.

After I felt like I was going to go bonkers, I asked for a few moments of quiet time. He tried to pout, then in his boredom he decided to entertain himself. Next thing I knew, the beauty began.  I heard him playing his guitar. I looked up from my computer and smiled.

I love the creativity that comes from a child’s boredom. When they are “forced,” for lack of a better term, to create something to do, they often will. Now he’s sitting next to me playing tunes he’s making up in the moment. When he was complete, I asked him to go take the cinnamon roll dough out of the fridge, in other words, I gave him something to do.

Now it’s time for us to finish our cinnamon rolls and eat lunch. Afterwards we may watch a movie, or we may go out and run errands. It’s a PJ day so unless something urgent comes up, we’re likely to watch a movie and then create something new.

So I guess what I’m realizing is, a little healthy boredom is okay. Children will create, hopefully with the right guidance something positive. I welcome your thoughts on the topic. I’m off to finish cinnamon rolls now.

Thank you for reading.

All the Best,

Tara

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