What To Do With a Bored Child

Bored kids can be bothersome kids, right? They get into things. They whine and get under our feet. We as parents do our best to keep them from getting bored. Not so much for them, but for self-preservation! At my house, the first thing we do is turn on a movie. Problem solved! I’ve seen many of my friend’s hand over their smart phone to their kids. Another solution! I myself have been guilty of that as well!

I do not believe there is anything wrong with this when your sanity is on the brink and you simply have to get something done. We’ve all been there. However, as I like to say, too much of anything isn’t always the best. While having eight DVDs lined up ready to go isn’t optimal, neither is a day filled with outings, activities, book reading, color time, and so forth. Having a Saturday filled with fun and educational activities is great and it makes us feel great as parents. Look what we did today!

However, this often adds a lot of pressure on us as parents, and in addition, we are depriving our children of an important skill. We need to let our children learn how to fill unstructured time on their own. Children need this time to discover for themselves what they like and what they are good at. Unstructured time will give children independence, as they learn to decide for themselves how to spend their time. It may be difficult for them at first, but after some initial complaining the child will eventually find something to do. You as the parent will enjoy seeing the different activities, games and unique use of toys and other objects that your children will invent on their own.

So, how do you start this? You may have tried this and been met with groans, complaints and possibly even worse. Expect this and be prepared. Don’t do it all of the sudden, as this will bring an unnecessary battle. However, wean your child off of structured time. Don’t get fed up, turn off the TV and send them outside or to their rooms to play. It will seem like a punishment. Make it a positive experience and present it with a positive attitude. Spend a little time with them, so they know you are there, and gently withdraw.

Don’t forget to give them the tools they need! Give them crayons, safety scissors, construction paper, anything that they can have free reign with. Old cardboard boxes and a role of scotch tape go a long way in my house. If your children are the more active type, get them outside! Find a park or a playground with a nice bench in the shade for yourself. Spend your unstructured time watching your kids build some happy memories!

Jason Spear Miller
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