5 Reasons why boredom is actually good for your child
We shouldn't dread the words "I'm bored"
Parents today are more hands-on than ever, which is excellent—but not without its pitfalls. Kids these days are busier than ever, being shuttled from one enrichment class to the next, with very little unstructured time to explore and, yes, be bored.
We shouldn’t dread hearing our children say “I’m bored”. In fact, many experts say that boredom can even be good for your child. Here’s why.
1. Boredom allows your kids to enrich their inner life
“Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves,” writes psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe for The Huffington Post. “It is only when we are surrounded by nothing that something comes alive on the inside.”
2. Boredom helps develop their imagination
“Enforced solitude alone with a blank page is a wonderful spur,” said comedian-turned-writer Meera Syal to the BBC. Boredom motivates your child to find ways to entertain herself. In Syal’s case, she ended up entertaining herself by “making up stories, drawing pictures of her stories, and going to the library.”
Instead of placating your child with ready-made entertainment on a tablet, let them tap into their own resources to create and develop themselves.
On the next page: more reasons why boredom is good for your kids.
3. Boredom gives your kids agency
If you make it your responsibility to fill up your children’s daily agenda with activities, they might have a more difficult time making decisions for themselves in the future. “Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” Lyn Fry told Quartz.
4. Boredom helps them discover their own interests
Because boredom allows your child to think for themselves, it gives them more reason to explore the things that interest them, rather than what is imposed on them. “It is one of the most oppressive demands of adults that the child should be interested, rather than take time to find what interests him. Boredom is integral to the process of taking one’s time,” wrote psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in 1993 (quoted in the Quartz article).
5. Boredom lets your children relax
According to Screen Free Parenting, constant stimulation isn’t good for anybody’s brain—that includes your child’s. Boredom allows your child’s mind to rest and recuperate. This is also linked to better sleeping patterns.