My kids get out of school for the summer this week. It feels like Christmas just passed a few days ago, so I’m not sure how we got here. But, alas, the school says their job is done until fall, and my kids are all mine for the next two and a half months.
While I am excited to have my kids to myself for a couple of months of unstructured time, I already feel the boredom coming on. I hear the frequent complaints of, “I’m so bored! There is nothing to do.”
Boredom is the universal curse of summer break. But do not fret, my friend, because I am here to help. With five kids who are now mostly teens and young adults, I have been through a summer or two (or 20) with a houseful of bored children. And you know what I have learned? Boredom is a blessing.
I know what you are thinking: “What do you mean boredom is a blessing? My kids drive me CRAZY with their complaints about having nothing to do. When they are not complaining, they are fighting with each other. I feel like I am constantly playing referee or finding ways to entertain them so I can keep my sanity.”
But what if you changed your mindset? What would happen if you decided to think of boredom as an opportunity instead of a problem?
In my experience, boredom is where creativity is born. Kids are born with wild imaginations that will never come to life unless they have unstructured time to connect with them. In other words, they must have nothing to do for long enough to get in touch with their creativity and make their own fun.
Easier said than done; I know. But this episode just might inspire you to give it a shot.
What you will learn:
- What happened when we got rid of our video game system (that the kids purchased with their own money), and why we will never get another one.
- How the busyness of modern life is killing creativity
- Why you should give your child the gift of boredom
- What to do when your child says, “I’m bored.”
Articles and books mentioned in the episode:
- Why You Should Do Nothing When Your Child Says, “I’m Bored” by Vanessa Lapoint
- Free-Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy
- The 10 Best Toys Ever, by Lynnette Sheppard
Other Articles of Interest:
- The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting, by Claire Cane Miller
Nancy H. Blakey said:
Preempt the time spent on television and organized activities and have them spend it instead on claiming their imaginations. For(click here for source)
inthe end, that is all we have. If a thing cannot be imagined first — a cake, a relationship, a cure for AIDS– it cannot be. Life is bound by what we can envision. I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom. It is possible for boredom to deliver us to our best selves, the ones that long for risk and illumination and unspeakable beauty. If we sit still long enough, we may hear the call behind boredom. With practice, we may have the imagination to rise up from the emptiness and answer.
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