It can be distressing to hear your child say they’re bored and have nothing to do. This is something that both parents and children can learn to manage. There are a few creative ideas that you can try, but it’s likely you’re probably juggling having to finish up your work and make dinner.
Before you start working on a strategy to help your kids when they’re bored, it’s essential that you first ask yourself why they can’t find something that they’re interested in. There are a few factors that can affect kids’ boredom.
A Cry For Attention
Many children have a natural yearning for belonging. They thrive when spending time with family and will feel valued and included. This is why a child’s behavior improves when they feel a sense of belonging.
Unfortunately, other issues can develop when a child’s need for positive attention gets unmet. Some of these include talking back and tantrums. In many cases, the part of the underlying reason for these outbursts is that they are bored. If your child is constantly saying they’re bored, it’s worth taking a break to consider if there’s more to it. It could be worth asking yourself if you’ve given your child a nice dose of your attention that day – undivided attention without phone calls, text messages or being on a screen.
The Options Feel Endless
A type of psychological condition that can affect children is analysis paralysis––when they have too many options than they know what to do. It’s when they have a hard time making decisions and end up bored because they can’t choose what they want to do even though toys and activities surround them. Their imaginations are full of ideas, and they often have difficulty picking the best activity.
When this happens, try helping your child narrow down their options. As their parent or guardian, you are often the person that knows them best and can surely give them an idea that will spark their interest and help them make a decision.
This is also an opportunity to set aside some time as parents or as a family to declutter the home. On a quiet weekend day, ask the kids to go to the room where their toys are and agree on a dozen toys or games that they can give away to less fortunate children. They could then take the opportunity to reorganise that room with your help.
Time to Be More Self-Sufficient
“I’m bored” is actually an opportunity. When you don’t give them the option of the TV or screen time, it’s their opportunity to get their creative mind working. Without your parental or screen intervention this gives children the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to come up with their ideas. This is an opportunity for your child to clear their own path to find something they’re interested in. Once you get through the discomfort of your child begging for screen time, and if both of you can do this, childhood magic can be restored – creative play with old favorite toys, Lego creations, imaginative play in the backyard…. The more kids get used to not being entertained by their parents or screens, the more they develop their creative muscles.
An Opportunity for Rest
Like adults, kids experience mental fatigue when they don’t get enough rest. The lack of sleep can also affect the brain’s ability to perform properly. This can manifest as various issues, such as a compromised immune system, increased eating leading to weight gain and grumpiness.
Getting enough rest is also essential to help break the boredom. It can help improve your child’s behavior and make them more comfortable. Trying to get DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time back into the household, where they pick up a book and read, is a much lost art in the modern world of electronic games and smart TVs.
Instead of dreading the cry of “I’m bored!” embrace your child’s boredom as a gift. You and your child will experience an exciting world filled with imagination, play, and fun.