How often do you hear your child say these words?
I know you’ve heard me say this many times before but children today need more of the four “good” stresses in their lives – Fear, Hardship, Failure and Boredom.
The reason they need these more than ever is because in our high tech, immediate gratification world our children are not experiencing these four important stresses. Everything is coming too fast and too easy for them!
Adding to this, young parents are unknowingly over protecting and shielding their children from everything. Stress is good and vital for the development of everything from your muscles to your immune system to your intelligence. Children need to “skin their knees and eat dirt”!
Today I want to focus on boredom . . . remember when we were kids? You could give us a couple sticks, an oatmeal box, a few rocks and we could play for hours. Today, kids have a closet full of toys, computers, video games and tablets yet still say “I’m bored”.
So, what has changed? The world and society has drastically changed. Technology has made many parts of our lives better, but not raising children.
So why is being bored good for kids? First, it teaches patience, self-control and delayed gratification. Has your child ever had a fit or breakdown because they did not get what they wanted? Have they ever refused to do something you asked them to do? Second, the stress of boredom stimulates and develops the vital skills of curiosity, creativity, intuition and imagination. Any educator will tell you these are so important in the development of preschoolers.
Video and other sophisticated games take this all away. They are actually passive activities which require little thought, creativity or imagination. You just “plug” your child in and they are just actively stimulated (and over stimulated). These games are designed to be addictive.
Why then do most parents work so hard to keep our kids from being bored? Simple answer. Because is it’s easier! It is easier than dealing with a bored child (at first)! It is much easier to hand them our smartphone than deal with the complaining, whining and crying.
What can you do? It will take some hard, intentional work on your part but I can guarantee the hard work you put into your child now will pay off huge later!
First, just start by noticing. Just note every time your child is bored. Then just change your perspective – smile and think “my child getting bored is GOOD”. It is not a bad thing to be avoided or mitigated. Then just realize every time your child gets bored it is a priceless learning opportunity. Allow bordom to occur.
When they are riding in a car – its ok to simply sit quietly. When you are out at a restaurant – just let them sit there. When they are eating dinner at home – put away all the screens and just let them sit there. When you are with your adult friends –don’t allow them to interrupt or demand attention constantly.
Look for every opportunity you can, especially when they are young, for them to get bored daily in small and big ways. It will pay off huge later in their life . . . and yours.
Simply change your parenting perspective “Boredom - It is GOOD ”!