It's the week after their birthday or the holidays and you have a house full of new toys, and you hear from across the house, "Dad, I'm soooo BORED!"
Boredom is beneficial for children's development in so many ways. While it might not seem like the most exciting thing for kids, it can actually allow them to be creative and develop their own mental and physical resources. Allowing children to experience being bored can help boost concentration, and problem-solving skills, and promote imaginative play, making children more confident, agile, and innovative.
How do we cultivate creativity when kids are bored? The practical side: It takes time. But totally worth it! First things first, be patient. When the kids are pulling on your leg or screaming from the other room, ask them what they have played with today and what they could do that might be fun (sometimes they just forget). Let them talk it out if they can. The ultimate goal is that they figure out ways to entertain themselves but in case you need a few ideas on how to set them up for success, we've got you!
What are some boredom busters? One thing is to have creative resources that are easily available to use in different ways like building materials, arts and crafts, places to run, jump and play that are parent-approved, legos, doll houses and dress-up clothes, a cozy place to read, simple athletic gear like hula hoops, jump ropes, and obstacle course items for inside or outside. Perhaps have them try practicing some basic parkour skills in the backyard or on the family couch? Nothing fancy, just available when they want something to do . . . Being able to just be in the moment is hard for kids (and adults), when many have entertainment in the palm of their hands, so being intentional to turn off the screens and just be, is a practice.
Boredom happens. Thankfully! It is a beautiful part of life when it is embraced and nurtured. Giving kids the resources and the opportunity to use their creative minds to problem solve, design and play are giving them the important life skills they need to be the best people they can be.