“I’m bored” is probably the single most dreaded phrase heard by many parents within the first few days of the holiday. Even though there are lots of events going on over the summer; I’ve seen posts on: www.facebook.com/boommagazinebelper/, www.facebook.com/derbyshiretoylibraries/, and www.facebook.com/VoiceMags/ to name a few.
You may not have time to go to all the events, you may need some downtime yourself or you simply just want to have days at home, here’s a few reasons why hearing the words “I’m bored” can be a really positive thing for your children…
They are forced to be creative and imaginative
Boredom not only forces us to be more creative, it actively enhances our creativity. In a study carried out by two British psychologists (Mann & Cadman) in 2014, they found actively forcing people into a bored state lead them to come up with much more creative ideas than those who had previously being doing an activity. Did you also know that daydreaming (which we do when we give ourselves time to be bored) involves the same neuro processors as imagination and creativity?
They learn about their likes, dislikes and innate skills
When children (and adults for that matter) are left alone to find things to do, not only do they get creative, they also start to notice the things they like and don’t like. One of the first things I do with children on my NLP4Kids workshops is to get them to complete ‘all about me’ information, which includes their like and dislikes. It’s amazing how many children have no idea which activities and games (outside of computer games) they do and don’t enjoy.
They learn how to play and practice without pressure or a deadline
I’m sure you’ve read in many books about ‘unstructured play’ and it’s many benefits such as: a sense of freedom and control, increased learning, patience and resilience (particularly when things don’t go according to plan). Boredom gives your children the opportunity to enter into unstructured play where they have the opportunity to build these fantastic life skills.
Their resilience and confidence increases
It’s all too easy for us to want to jump in and help our children when we see they’re struggling with something, including boredom. The problem with this is they don’t get to understand their own capabilities, build resilience when things don’t go according to plan and build confidence when they have sorted the problem. Letting your children get bored, find new activities and learn to deal with problems help increase both confidence and resilience.
They learn mindfulness
Mindfulness means that we are fully focussed on whatever activity we are doing whilst being aware of our thoughts and feelings at that moment in time. It’s a great way to give our mind the space and opportunity to ‘settle’. If our children are constantly moving from one outing to the next, filling their days with computer games or not getting an chance to be alone with their thoughts, they’re missing out on a great opportunity for personal connection.
So, give yourselves a break, take some chill time and relish the boredom.