Do you cringe when you hear your child say the words “I’m bored!”? Many parents do. Being bored is actually good for children and it is best if a parent isn’t always the one finding the solution to quiet the “I’m bored!” plea.
Benefits of boredom
Being bored is beneficial to your child’s mental and emotional development. Being bored can help your child develop:
- Creativity: One of the main benefits of your child experiencing boredom is that being bored allows your child’s brain to be creative and use their imagination in order to be entertained. Being constantly busy can actually stifle your child’s development of their imagination. Having a healthy imagination is known to be positively connected to a child’s healthy intellectual development.
- Problem solving skills: When your child is bored, your child needs to use their thinking skills to come up with a solution to their boredom
- A sense of identity: Being bored allows your child time to hear their own thoughts. Just letting the mind wander from time to time is important for one’s mental wellbeing and functioning.
Boredom buster ideas
Here are a few suggestions you can use to help your child be prepared when boredom hits:
- Make a list: Brainstorm with your child all the things they enjoy doing and make a list of these things. When boredom hits, have your child refer to their list for something to do. Over time, keep adding to the list with new ideas.
- Boredom buster box: Put together a box of boredom buster items that only come out when your child is bored. Have items in the box that encourage open-ended play. Open-ended simply means being able to use an object in a variety of ways. For example, clean food containers could be used to build a farm or to be groceries in a cart.
- Get outside: Research shows that a child’s environment is a key factor in encouraging self-directed and inventive play, and the outdoors provides such an environment. Encourage your child to play outside in order to engage their creative mind. Building forts, having picnics, making obstacle courses or playing games outside can help your child beat the boredom blues.
Next time your child says they are bored, remember you do not have to fix their problem. Encourage your child to use their problem solving skills and come up with creative ways to occupy their time. Teaching these helpful skills will last a lifetime.
For more boredom buster ideas, check out fit.sanfordhealth.org.
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