“Mom, I’m bored.”
The words that every parent will recognize. And likely dread. At this current time, with so many of our usual activities unavailable due to the coronavirus restrictions, you probably hear it more often than ever as boredom at home is at an all-time high.
Your children are used to being with 20 or more of their peer group and continuously stimulated with activities, and suddenly they are stuck home and looking to you to keep them entertained. Typically, parents would be charging around, taking our kids to their various scheduled activities. Soccer, karate, music lessons. Our children are continually learning, socializing, and most have a busier calendar of birthday parties and playdates than we do.
Now, here you are – suddenly trying to figure out ways to juggle working from home with parenting our children and without a moment to feel bored ourselves.
Children aged between five and six years old are used to a structured routine.
However recently your routine may have loosened and does not have the same structure as before.
This leaves your kids not knowing what to do with themselves.
Without an endless stream of activities to keep kids occupied outside of the house, here’s how to help them grow accustomed to days where there’s often a dull moment, so everyone stays sane.
Boredom is a familiar feeling in children. Feeling irritated, unsatisfied, or uninterested by any activity can lead to boredom. Boredom occurs when your kid feels energetic but has no idea where to direct his energy. Boredom is a common complaint among children
You or your child may become bored while engaged in an activity, due to:
Although you may too be feeling fraught at times with life so uncertain and a lack of any routine, it’s an opportunity to apply conscious parenting guidance, and not respond to them angrily or rudely.
Try these steps:
6. Your child may just be feeling bored temporarily. They may be trying to get your attention, or they must just want to play.
That’s all very well, but what if your imagination of engaging activities is exhausted? Here are seven ideas for helping to stop the boredom at home.
Get Back To Nature
It’s the perfect opportunity to let their creativity thrives and spend some time nurturing plants and seeds which could grow in the garden or a window box.
Remember your childhood favorites
What about all the simple things you could entertain yourself doing for hours when you were a child. Maybe a good old fashioned paper airplane race?
How about finding a rope and skipping? Learning to hula-hoop? Remember all those rainy days you filled by playing hang-man?
Go High Tech
You don’t need to avoid all of the technology available. But as a conscious parent, you may want to guide your children towards some of the more socially conscious apps or encourage them to use their time on-line to build their blog.
How many items do you have on your fix-it list? Usually, we are time-poor, and it’s easier to throw something away and get another one when it breaks. But that’s not the case during coronavirus, and this is the perfect opportunity to teach your child how to fix things. Maybe you can show your older children how to sew a button back into a shirt, or even learn together. There is an abundance of YouTube tutorials that will guide you through.
Why not encourage your children to develop their music tastes. It’s the perfect time to explore their likes and tell them about a song of your favorite bands and songs.
What better way to get creative together than to cook together? You can concoct something from the cupboard, or follow a recipe along. It’s an opportunity to explore flavors and tastes and be present in making something creative for the family to enjoy. And, of course, if you’re baking, someone needs to lick the frosting from the spoon. It’s a rite of passage.
Put on a play
Or even a dance number. Learn it, perform it, and enjoy them getting into character and being someone else for a while. It’s an opportunity to learn empathy as they can see a situation from another’s eyes.
These are all great ideas, but is a little boredom healthy for your child? Dr. Steve Silvestro says it’s essential to allow your child to be bored and that it can spark creativity – and that’s why some of us get our best ideas in the shower.
“Doing the same routine every day, often at the same time of day, over and over again—it’s pretty dull in there. That dullness and monotony actually gives your brain freedom to wander and explore nooks and crannies of thought that you might not meander through at other parts of your day.
When children are bored, they have the luxury to allow their minds to explore in more detail. It gives the opportunity to get ingenious and creative.
So the coronavirus lockdown could be the perfect time to build a Thinking Spot for your child. If you can create a space in your child’s room or a playroom with a comfy seat or pillow, paper & pencils, perhaps even small toys for inspiration, then when your child says that they are bored, suggest that she sit in the Thinking Spot and come up with ideas.
Boredom is ok. Dr. Dibya Choudhuri, a professor with the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti says we didn’t have a word for boredom until the 19th century.
It isn’t necessary a bad thing. But very quickly it got a very bad rap.
When children are left alone to figure something out, you’ll often be blown away by their ability to problem solve, and boredom gives this a chance to develop.
This is why it’s actually healthy to let your kids get bored for a certain amount of time.
Of course – none of this will stop the bleating cry of “I’m bored,” so it’s helpful to be prepared with your responses. Ignoring them doesn’t get you much peace.
The best approach is to turn it into a positive. When you hear those fateful words, you can tell them, “I love it when I’m bored. I can get really creative with what I’m going to do next. I have time to think, and it’s up to me to do whatever I want to do.”
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.