Parents today have become conditioned to believe that if their child gets bored it’s their fault and, even worse, it’s something that they the parent needs to remedy — and fast. Partly because of too much instantly gratifying tech consumption and partly because of the belief that intense schedules are the key to success, it’s actually incredibly rare that children today actually get bored. And, when they do, it seems like neither the child nor the parent knows how to cope.
This is a big problem for everyone!
Being bored is actually a critical part of development in children. Not allowing your child to be bored can hurt them down the road in other ways too, because they’ll feel the constant need to “find something to do”, which, depending on where they are and who they’re with, can turn into a serious situation quickly.
The next time your child complains about being bored, or that parental fear creeps in when you notice your child is not immediately being entertained by something, relax. Allow the situation to unfold — and the complaining to fade. It might just be one of the best things you can do for your child (and yourself).
Here are five proven reasons why letting your child be bored is actually a good thing…
- Being bored improves creativity. When your child is bored, their creativity actually starts to spike, creating space for daydreams and imagination to take hold. If a child is constantly consuming in the name of “anti-boredom”, then they’ll never have the opportunity to really create. Being creative is a huge part of being successful, especially in the rapidly changing world our children are growing up in.
- Being bored improves how your child feels psychologically. The mental well-being of your child depends more on boredom than you might realize. According to research, the human mind tends to look back at past events when it’s bored, which helps to create a sense of purpose. Because reflection can only happen when there’s mental space, being bored is actually one of the keys to finding real meaning in life, which, in turn, boosts things like self-confidence.
- Being bored motivates your child. So many parents today complain about how unmotivated their children are, but very few are able to link that lack of motivation to a lack of boredom. But, that link is there! The more your child understands what it feels like to be bored, the more motivated they are to find ways to make things around them more interesting. That motivation spreads into everything they do!
- Being bored helps your child be more interesting. Children today are taught to be consumers, which breeds a constant need to have things given to them or to simply follow along with what others are doing or saying. The more you allow your child to be bored, however, the more they develop the skills they need to actually entertain themselves. By allowing your child to figure things out for themselves when they’re bored, you help them learn more about who they are. This, in turn, allows them to develop into more interesting, more unique individuals.
- Being bored is helpful for parents, too. Parents often feel like they’re constantly running on empty, trying to care for everyone and then running out of time for themselves. Part of this exhaustion, however, stems from the false belief that you should always be helping your child be entertained. Rather than rushing to their assistance the moment boredom sets in, give your child a chance to explore. And, when they do, take some time for yourself, too.