The last time my daughter said, "I'm bored," I responded with a cheery, "Awesome! That's a great opportunity to use your imagination." As you can guess, this did not go over well with an eight year old.
I meant it, though. As adults, juggling kids, jobs, housework and bills while also trying to actually do something social and just for fun every once in a while, most parents would kill to be bored. Kids? Not so much.
Boredom, though, should be an opportunity for kids, according to an article on Time.com. It can indicate that they should change what they are doing and try something else. Learning to beat boredom is an important skill for kids to learn, or else they risk a life where nothing is ever interesting and they might turn to drugs, alcohol, or inappropriate and risky behaviors to "entertain" themselves.
While it may seem like a kid's boredom comes from not having enough activities, it could actually be a symptom of having too many. If your child is so used to being scheduled and occupied, he won't know how to come up with things to do on his own. Boredom really is an opportunity for kids to use their imaginations and create their own games and activities.
Elementary school-aged kids, of course, need support from parents to be exposed to new activities and try new things to give them inspiration for those "I'm bored" moments. Next time your child utters that phrase, start a conversation with her to find out what she's enjoyed doing recently and what she might like to do again. Then, nudge her toward using that as inspiration for something she can do right now—and here's the key—let her go do it on her own. If she liked playing in the park with her friends, maybe she can build an ultimate playground with her Legos or draw a dream playground with her art supplies. If she liked seeing a movie, maybe she can act out a new scene with her stuffed animals. The opportunities really are endless!
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