Do you know the link about boredom and creativity?
“Mum, I’m bored!”
Three simple words can send a parent scrambling. We feel guilty when our children complain, it’s like we failed them in some way.
Especially us modern parents, we rush to fill their time with toys, activities, parties, sleepovers, the iPad, video games, television, trips to the shopping mall, the zoo, the latest theme parks, anything that will occupy their precious little ones.
But this video tells us what our own parents already know: it’s really alright for a child to be bored. In fact it can be beneficial to their development.
Child development experts suggest that boredom helps children develop self-awareness. Time alone helps them switch off from the world outside, giving them the freedom to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and activities of their own choosing, and thus discovering their own personal interests and gifts.
Just letting the mind wander from time to time is important even for adults. Surely we have all experienced an “Aha!” moment while daydreaming or doing nothing in particular.
So its good for our children to switch off and learn to enjoy just wandering around sometimes, and not grow up with the expectation that they should be constantly doing something or constantly entertained.
While sporting, musical and other organised activities most certainly benefit a child’s physical, cognitive, cultural and social development, using screen time to alleviate boredom can be detrimental to a child’s imagination.
So parents, you really don’t have to rush in with solutions whenever the kids claim boredom. Instead, challenge them and trust them to engage their minds and use their natural curiosity, playfulness and powers of invention.
Boredom and creativity does link. You can provide simple materials: a box, a stack of paper, a basket of wool, but what they need most is space time and the understanding that they may create a little mess!