You may have heard it many times that it’s good for children to be bored, that we should all let our children be bored during the summer holidays etc. so they can learn and maintain the skills of independence and creativity.
It’s true that we don’t do our children any favours when we over-schedule or over-entertain them in order to protect them from boredom. However we’re also not doing them any favours to in leaving them completely alone with their feelings of boredom. When children feel well-connected to us, and don’t have upset feelings clouding their thinking they can usually think well about what they want to do, play independently, and come up with new creative ways to spend the time.
Complains of ”I’m bored” often come because a child is feeling disconnected, and is dealing with upset feelings that get in the way of them enjoying life, and figuring out what they love to do.
Giggle Parenting can often work as a simple quick-fix for boredom. When my daughter complains that she’s bored, I use a pretend phone to phone up the ”to-do hotline.” I talk to someone on the line and explain that I’ve got a very bored girl at home and that I need some ideas of what to do. The person on the phone tells me that I should just let my daughter watch screen. I act all playfully shocked and exclaim, ”no, no! Not screen. I don’t want her to watch screen, give me a good suggestion of what to do.” This really makes my daughter laugh, as often her go-to for feelings of boredom is to watch screen, and I know in these moments it’s more helpful for me to help her back to independent play.
Then I’ll have the to-do hotline tell me that she should do all kinds of ridiculous things like throw all of mummy’s socks out of her sock drawer, or make a mess of her bedroom. After a few giggles my daughter is often ready to play independently again.
So when your child is complaining of boredom, try phoning the to-do hotline and see what they suggest. It could be wild and crazy things, like take a rocket and go to the moon, or leave the house right now, or have a bath with your clothes on. You can act all playfully angry and annoyed that the hotline is not suggesting anything sensible and your child can laugh and laugh Just see where your mind and the giggles lead you.
For more information on boredom check out Patty Wipfler’s article What to do when your child is bored. For regular giggle parenting ideas, sign up to my blog at the top right hand corner of this post.