Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
Last Tuesday, my husband and I took our two boys to the doctor’s office for their annual check-up. Now, they’re not undisciplined but they do get bored quite easily and, when that happens, they can both become a handful. In fact, no matter what my husband and I did, the boys just weren’t having it. They kept jumping, running, yelling, and generally throwing a fit. You can imagine how embarrassed and hopeless we both felt as we tried to relax them. I don’t remember ever acting like that when I was that young. If I was ever bored, I would just, well, sit there! We haven’t the slightest idea how to even begin to help our boys with their boredom.
Do you remember a time in your childhood when you were bored out of your mind? Click To Tweet
Do you remember a time in your childhood when you were bored out of your mind? Perhaps you were at church, flipping through the hymn book, and staying as still as possible to keep your parents from giving you “the look.”
Or maybe you were at your grandmother’s house. You know, where the TV only had a few channels and you weren’t allowed to touch anything for fear of breaking it. Boredom can be the absolute worst feeling or state of mind for a child! But we want to let you in on a secret: it’s not actually bad for kids. In fact, it may be something we need kids to experience a bit more often, just from a slightly different perspective.
Our licensed psychologists and mental health counselors in Tampa would like to explore boredom a little more in depth and explain why it isn’t so bad.
Boredom Through the Years
Boredom can be the absolute worst feeling or state of mind for a child! Click To Tweet
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, boredom is defined as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” And boy, do most of us know what it’s like to have a lack of interest in certain settings.
The funny thing is, if you go back far enough to what kids used to do for entertainment, it would probably be boring for newer generations. Getting on your bike and going on neighborhood adventures? Kids today might not even be able to imagine that because it’s so easy to just pick up a smartphone or tablet and dive into some cool app or game instead. Playing with action figures or acting out characters from famous TV shows? Today’s kids would probably rather play video games.
Despite the things everyone did back in their youth for fun, we all eventually learned that life can be boring sometimes. But, more importantly, we understood our role in boredom. We were willing to sit in it, be one with it (not that we had much of a choice), and inevitably move away from it. The last part is key.
Eventually, one way or another, we all emerge from boredom. The big question is how to do it. We also need to believe that, first, we can tolerate it and, second, that some really good things can emerge from those moments of downtime that kids whine about being “so boring.”
Now, as our world becomes a place of rapid hyperstimulation, our willingness to live through boredom is becoming nonexistent.
What’s Wrong with a Little Boredom?
Nothing! In fact, boredom shouldn’t even be considered a problem! Through the years, teachers and parents have avoided teaching children to process material that may seem slow, dull, or uninteresting. Teachers want to engage their students with bright lectures and interactive lessons, while parents are quick to let tablets and smartphones deal with the issue of boredom at home.
Children should be challenged to deal with their boredom, if not on their own, then with a little help from you. If they claim there’s nothing interesting to do, sit with them and explore some options. Maybe they’ll draw something and discover they love art, grab a book and find a passion for history, or even take to the outdoors to explore their urban environments.
If you notice that your child needs a little push or encouragement in the right direction, don’t be afraid to make suggestions. Learn what your child finds interesting and think of some options to do together! They will eventually learn how to manage boredom as they get older.
You might be surprised that if you encourage them to sit and think quietly, their imaginations might get ignited. Learning about mindfulness and meditation is another way for kids to learn the value of downtime and sitting quietly with their thoughts.
“There is nothing better to spur creativity than a blank page or an empty bedroom.”
Schedule Your Appointment with Us
Rice Psychology Group knows that your family is your biggest priority. This is why we choose to assist each and every visitor with a personal approach and welcoming environment. No matter what the issue at hand may be, our team of psychologists and mental health counselors will listen to your story and help you find the best way back towards feeling better. For more information about our services, contact us in Tampa today.