Without tipping my hat as to my age, I cast my mind back to when I was young and carefree. Looking forward to the weekends and school holidays so that I could spend time with my friends, playing cricket in the front yard using the hedges and wheelie bins as wickets, and spending time with family, where my cousins and I would put on talent shows for our parents.
Those were the days when we didn’t have electronic devices to get distracted by. Our parents would tell us to go and play and we found something to do. I remember collecting football cards with my brother and those we didn’t trade, we would play a game with them, flicking them against a wall and whoever got the closest to the wall would get to keep them all.
What am I getting at you’re probably asking?
In today’s society I see kids obsessed with their iPad, their Xbox’s or other electronic devices. I often find myself wondering how they’d have coped, being born in my day where those things barely existed, unless you had a lot of money.
I know my sons would struggle because if they had it their way, they’d float from device to device all day long, like most kids these days. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a tirade about how we as parents need to reduce our kids screen time, it’s about how it may be time that we start giving our kids the gift of boredom.
Here are just a couple of reasons as to why it would undoubtedly benefit our children.
Boredom helps to develop creativity. Kids with nothing to do tend to use their imaginations more and giving the rapidly changing and evolving future, they will need to learn to use their imaginations to adapt along the way.
When we let our children be bored, they become more interesting. How so? When we spend all our time trying to keep our kids entertained, and their schedules filled, they never have to learn about how to entertain themselves. They don’t need us to be there for them every minute, they need to learn how to handle things themselves.
Giving our kids too much attention can actually cause more harm than good. They think they are the centre of attention. And they run the risk of inadvertently taking on an identity developed by their parents instead of developing their own individual personalities.
There is even a benefit to us parents. We can have some adult time without having to wait until the last child has fallen asleep at night. Parenting 24/7 has a detrimental effect causing stress and anxiety which can hurt our kids. Children can pick up on their parent’s anxiety which may lead to behavioural issues down the road.
Join me in putting down the diaries and juggling balls. Let’s all help our kids be bored for a while. Not only might it be good for us, but it might be the best thing you can do for them in the long run.