Bored, I’m so bored, bored bored bored. I’m bored to death, audible heavy sigh. Bored bored bored. Is this a common and recurring chorus in your home this summer? Being bored is boring. Or is it?
Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves.
Being bored is saying no to chaos and yes to calm. Being bored is saying no to consumerism and yes to minimalism. Being bored is saying no to all the outside stimulus and saying yes to imagination.
How do we teach kids to be bored when it’s so boring? Part of it is getting past the mundane drone of their current state of being, then having the patience for them to figure out what to do in the nothingness. What did you used to do when you were bored as a kid? Was it endless games of “I spy,” crafting paper airplanes and seeing whose will go the furthest or was it sitting in your room mixing potions of powders and oils (like Lani used to do).
Good things can come from idle hands and minds. When not engrossed on technology, or participating in structured and planned activities, you can be sure kids minds (or yours for that matter) won’t be still. Their minds will be doing what it does best – thinking. And probably some of the best and most creative thinking you’ve ever had happens when your bored. Just ask Tolkien. He was so bored from repetitively grading certification papers, that he wrote the Hobbit.
Some really cool things happen when you are bored.
- Jen’s twins, when they are not allowed on electronics, they have created their own worlds and made up language and are using Latin to name the continents and ocean in their imagination world.
- Jen’s daughter Stella’s chore is recycling but only half gets taken out because she keeps the rest to create a DIY project.
- Lani’s son Zephyr creates entire stories and scenes with the most random toys if given enough time to dig in and explore with them.
- Lani & Jen both find that they do their best creative thinking when taking a walk WITHOUT the earbuds in.
What will you create, imagine or discover this summer by being bored?
This summer, it’s time to take back our boredom. We have a challenge for you, play along, share what you do or just try some of these ideas when you feel bored and feel like picking up the phone, tablet, or turning on the TV. (It’s good to give our brains a rest to mindless TV every so often- we all do that). But there are SO many other ways we can quiet our minds and it can be about really doing not much of anything. Give yourself moments of not being entertained all the time or feeling like you have a huge to-do list to complete.
Find a time in your day where you choose boredom over being mindlessly entertained by technology. Here are some ideas!
1. Boredom Buster Jar – Create a boredom buster jar like this one for when you hear the words “I’m bored.”
2. Standing in Line
- Instead of picking up your phone, connect with someone in line.
3. Car Rides
- Have a no electronics rule for rides under 2 hours.
- Play music and have a car dance off, play car games, or just daydream. Lani’s family has contests over who can spot the most wildlife.
4. Make materials accessible – We protect our kids by giving them so much stuff and not allow them to be bored.
- Have a bin of unusual objects, like your junk drawer, and see what they come up with to amuse themselves. What will they do with a few paperclips, clothespins, scraps of paper and chopsticks? Let them make a mess and let them seek new experiences. AND don’t clean up after them as they are playing. Just let them play.
- When Jen’s family travels overseas they don’t travel with toys so they play with whatever they have on hand which usually isn’t much. They play store by drawing items and toys on paper and then play with hand drawn money for example.
5. Be Alone – Find a time in your day to do something (gasp!) on your own – Kids too
- Adults: Go to a coffee shop, happy hour, a hike, walk around the ‘hood, sit in your yard with a book.
- Kids: Those with siblings- make sure each child has their own time where they can be quiet away from chaos; listen to their needs. Our singleton kids may be used to it, but don’t give in to the need to always be entertaining them with other playmates.
Boredom is a luxury. It’s freedom from constantly feeling the need to do something, be somewhere or say something. It’s the luxury of just being fully and completely in the moment.
We would LOVE to hear from you…what are some of your ideas for when your child says “I’m bored?”