This might sound like a strange post for Friendship Month, but being bored isn’t bad, for kids or adults, and kids can be friends with boredom. Both the solution and the results can be very satisfying.
Kids often say, “There’s nothing to do. I’m bored.” Our first reaction is just as often to worry. Next, we might find them something fun to do or hand them the remote or digital device, but we also need to let them be bored. Certainly, not all the time, but some of it.
Our first response needs to acknowledge their feelings. We might say something like, “Being bored is really boring, isn’t it?” Or, “It can be so boring to have nothing to do.” It’s really hard not to jump in and solve the problem for them, but stepping back gives kids a chance to get creative.
Have you ever gotten in the car with the intention of just wandering around and seeing what you can discover? We might explore places we didn’t know were there, hidden treasures. We might also discover places to avoid. The brain sometimes needs to just wander too.
As parents and educators, we hear ourselves telling kids they need to slow down and take their time, and the very opposite, to quit taking so much time and to get something done. Managing time is very challenging and contradictory. Kids, and adults, have to figure out the best ways to use time. Being bored is part of that process.
More than that, being bored means the space and time to tune into ourselves. In Huffington Post, Dr. Vanessa Lapointe writes, “Children need to sit in the nothingness of boredom in order to arrive at an understanding of who they are. And just as important, children need to sit in the nothingness of boredom to awaken their own internal drive to be.”
There are dozens and dozens more articles on why kids sometimes need to be bored. The video below explains in words and images and gives us more to think about:
Boredom can be truly positive, and kids can be friends with boredom. In that boredom, can be the space and time to be friends with oneself. How does your child handle being bored?