Allow Your Child to be Bored Sometimes

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We live in a world saturated with external stimuli. Children from a young age are given immediate solutions to boredom- but a little bit of boredom is good for them. It is when the mind has nothing to do that it falls on to the path of self-discovery. Most parents want their kids to become “better” and end up scheduling every second of their free time. We all know a kid who comes back from school has barely relaxed before being sent off to music lessons, art lessons, writing sessions, karate, coding classes, etc. How would this child know where their interest lies when they have never really had to ask themselves the question – what would I prefer to do if I had the time? They have never had the time. They have never taken the initiative of structuring their own lives, as a schedule was given to them, ready-made at all times.

Boredom is key to encouraging creativity. The mind wanders, especially when we are trying to make it still. Boredom can lead children to daydream, which is the beginning of independent creative thought. Encourage children to sit with their thoughts and see what they come up with. Once the easy options of phones and TV screens are not in the picture, you might be surprised to find what your child might gravitate towards. Many parents were surprised to find that their child occupied their time with gardening, sports, arts, and writing- things that they had never considered before – when left on their own. It takes a moment of reflection to not immediately provide a solution when your child asks, “what’s next? I’m bored” because parents and caregivers often feel that it is their job to come up with all the answers. We can just as quickly prompt children to find their own answers. We relate to boredom as an absence, as a state of nothingness: nothing to do, nothing to think about, nothing to learn, nothing to be with, nothing to play with, nothing to experience. But this is a limiting view. Only when we have nothing to do is that we find something to think about. Trust your child’s ability to survive unregulated time. They can use their imagination and understand that they can be happy without external attention all the time. Passive entertainment is a mere distraction – it will not lead to an understanding of one’s self.

Let your child be bored. Let them fill their mind with stories and music of their invention. Let them be curious about the world that surrounds them.

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