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  • Back On Track Early Childhood Professionals

I'm Bored

Whenever I hear this - my response is ‘How lucky are you, I wish I was bored’

With this I do get some very questioning looks, but really we all hear this from our children whether that be in the holidays or the weekends and we as parents feel the need to fill that void by either playing with our children, letting them use technology or providing structured activities. That way we feel that our children are happy and entertained, which in return makes us happy. Did you know that by letting a child be bored, we are promoting creativity, time management skills, and the ability to invent new ideas and for them to be in control of their own interests. I’m not saying this should happen all the time but children certainly need some ‘down time’ to regroup, regenerate and refresh.

Have you ever had time with nothing to do? What did you do? Were you productive? Were you creative? If you were given freedom and time to explore when you were younger, chances are that you were able to fill your time following interests of your own or some type of creative passion. Learning to manage your time is a life skill that adults and teenagers all need to be able to do to succeed in life, and it starts as young as two.

It is such a pleasure to be able to play with our children, however sometimes you can provide the inspiration and enthusiasm by starting an activity and then stepping away. This will enable your child to continue or extend this activity in their own way without adult interaction and support. Children need to have this time to explore and truly work out what their true interests are not necessarily what yours are. In following this interest they are also demonstrating problem solving and creativity.

What does this teach a child?

It teaches them to be independent thinkers who are not reliant on adult interactions all the time. It gives them the chance to explore, create, manipulate and invent their own ideas and thoughts.

The technology option is one I would strongly avoid as much as possible and I would use my daily quota of 1 hour – yes that includes phones, ipads, computers and television - of technology either at rest time to give myself a break, or at that dreaded witching hour, when dinner and bath time needs to be done.

What does this teach a child?

It teaches a child that technology is a good thing but there are boundaries and time limits associated with this. This in return will encourage more activity that is not of a sedentary nature especially when obesity is such a growing issue and concern for our little ones.

The frantic family. I believe there are many of these out there and yes I possibly (to a lesser extent) was one of them. These are the families whose children are given every opportunity to play music, sport, swimming, languages, dance, with very little or limited time for free play or rest and relaxation. I guess it’s a way for parents to feel that they are giving their child the very best start in life by exposing them to so many opportunities.

What does this teach a child?

It teaches children that they must be engaged and busy at all times. There is no time for free play, creativity, and most of all very limited time to just ‘be’ in the moment. These children often rely on others for their entertainment because they have never known any other way. The other problem is the potential for high anxiety in children who are trying to always meet their parents expectations.

Obviously a well-rounded routine to your day, which offers physical activity, stimulation and new experiences, rest time and relaxation and I hope I have now convinced you of the importance of time to be bored.

Here are some ideas for beating the boredom blues:

  • Paint a picture

  • Draw with chalk on the driveway

  • Draw a picture to post to Nanna

  • Put on music and dance- use ribbons and scarves

  • Paint with water in the backyard

  • Plan a treasure hunt with a map

  • Play hopscotch

  • Collect natural objects in a basket to use as collage

  • Build a cubby house with a sheet

  • Make a paper aeroplane

  • Set up a shop

  • Instead of feeling guilty when your child says their bored, think of it as an investment into their future, smile and remember to say,

  • “How lucky are you”

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