Boredom: a Gift to Your Children

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Looking back on my childhood, I remember times when I became bored. I would mope around the house for a little while before inevitably deciding that I should ask my mom what to do. She usually gave a few suggestions, which I rejected just because I was in a bad mood. She would say something like, “Well, good luck finding something to do.” My mom was a busy woman with 6 kids! While she was very loving and fun, she didn’t always have time to entertain! Do I resent her for this now? Absolutely not! I’m grateful!

My mother gave me a gift. She allowed me to be unhappy temporarily as I learned to solve my own problem. After finding that she wasn’t going to solve the boredom problem for me, I had to figure it out for myself. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I continued to mope until it was time for dinner or some other activity. Other times, I became creative. I would read a book, build something, or find a sibling or friend to play with. Some of my most creative activities came as a result of boredom.

As a mom, I have felt like my son deserves my full attention nearly all the time. I feel guilty when I need to leave him alone to get things done, because I know that it’s essential for kids to have quality time with their parents. I was relieved to be reminded that it’s actually healthy for kids to be on their own sometimes. No, I’m not leaving my baby unsupervised, but I will put him in a safe place like the pack and play while I do some chores. He might cry for a few minutes, but then he will look at the fun toys I left with him and start to entertain himself.

If we constantly entertain our children, they will never learn to do it themselves. They will also have more trouble focusing in school. After all, school is not designed to be a theme park. Next time your kids are bored, use it as an opportunity for them to learn. Make yourself unavailable and watch to see what they come up with. You might be surprised!

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