Let Your Kids Get Bored

In today’s fast-paced world, many parents struggle with the concept of their children being bored. There’s so much to do … how could they feel bored?!? However, boredom is essential for fostering creativity, self-reflection, and problem-solving skills. Allowing kids to experience unstructured downtime can lead to remarkable developmental benefits. This article explores the benefits of being bored for children and how it helps them grow into resilient, imaginative, and independent individuals.

Why Boredom Is a Good Thing

Boredom isn’t the sin we often make it out to be. In fact, a lot of good can come from our minds wandering. Here are five great reasons to let your kids get bored this summer. 

  • Stimulates Creativity & Imagination – Boredom can drive children to create their own entertainment, fostering creativity and imagination. Without predefined activities, children are more likely to engage in imaginative play or come up with unique ideas. Dr. Teresa Belton, a researcher at the University of East Anglia, found that boredom is crucial for developing internal stimulus, which then triggers creative thinking.
  • Encourages Self-Reflection – When children are bored, they have the opportunity to sit with their thoughts and feelings, promoting self-awareness and introspection. This downtime can help them understand their interests and passions better. Dr. Sandi Mann, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, suggests that boredom allows for contemplation, which is essential for emotional development and self-reflection.
  • Develops Problem-Solving Skills – Boredom can push children to solve the “problem” of having nothing to do. As they figure out how to occupy their time, they develop problem-solving skills and learn how to be resourceful. Research indicates that children who experience boredom are more likely to explore their environment and engage in problem-solving activities.
  • Reduces Dependence on Technology – Allowing children to experience boredom without immediately turning to screens can reduce their reliance on digital devices for entertainment. This encourages more active and creative forms of play. Studies have shown that children who are less reliant on technology for entertainment often engage in more physical and social activities, leading to a more balanced lifestyle.
  • Enhances Mental Well-Being – Constant doing can lead to overstimulation and stress. Boredom provides a necessary break from this, promoting mental relaxation and well-being. Experts argue that boredom can act as a buffer against the stress of constant busyness, allowing children to recharge and reduce anxiety.

Practical Tips for Parents

So if boredom is an important part of stimulating creativity, problem-solving, and other life skills, what can parents do to help their kids work through the initial sluggishness of being bored?

  • Create Unstructured Time Boredom isn’t bad! Resist the urge to fill up your child’s time with extracurriculars and playdates. Ensure children have periods in their day without planned activities or screen time. 
  • Encourage Outdoor Play – Let Mother Nature parent for a little bit. Outdoor environments can stimulate creative and physical play without the need for structured activities.
  • Model Boredom – This one may take some effort, but put down your phone, turn off the screens, and give yourself permission to be bored, too. Show children that it’s okay to have downtime and that adults also use this time creatively and productively.
  • Provide Creative Tools – Have art supplies, building blocks, and other creative tools available for children to use when they are bored. Collect toys they haven’t played with in a while and reintroduce them during times of boredom. The time apart might stimulate a new appreciation!

Allowing children to experience boredom is crucial for their overall development. It promotes creativity, self-reflection, problem-solving skills, reduces dependence on technology, and can actually enhance their mental well-being. By embracing boredom, children can develop into well-rounded, resilient people.

So sit back, relax, and get a little bored with your kids this summer.