Giving the gift of boredom this summer
It's summertime! And just what are we going to do with the kids? If you're like me, you brainstorm a variety of activities to keep the little ones busy and amused. Fun things, easy things, educational things, active things. Summer camps, crafts, day trips. The list can go on and on.
And yet, there is a lot to be said for simply allowing our kids to be bored. Yep, bored. I'm not saying to scrap all your well-thought-out plans for the summer. But allow plenty of downtime for the kiddos to become bored. Rather than just getting into trouble, most kids will manage to entertain themselves if given the opportunity. Sure, there may be strong protest and complaining along the way, but if you can push through the initial resistance, there are benefits to be reaped.
It turns out that boredom is actually good for kids (and adults, too). Boredom allows creativity to flow, inspiring new games, new projects, new stories. It also helps develop problem-solving skills as kids are forced to come up with a boredom solution for themselves. And it promotes learning as kids investigate the fascinating world around them in new, unstructured ways.
We can foster boredom by limiting screen time of all kinds, and by resisting the urge to solve their boredom problem ourselves. If the kids are really stumped you might suggest they read, go play outside, or make something for someone. But let them work out the details on their own. You may be surprised by what they come up with.
So as you embrace the summertime and plan your activities, don't forget to budget some downtime for boredom to sink in. Give the gift of boredom, and watch your kids reap the benefits.