How to turn the eternal whinge of “I AM BORED” around!

bored child

This is a guest post blog from our friends at Little Whizz .

Let them be bored they say, and YES, it is true it is important to let our children figure things out for themselves. Being bored has many advantages, such as building their creativity and imagination, but the one quality that stands out, by far, is that it makes them self-reliant.

BUT it’s hard isn’t it, to watch them lying around whinging every 5 minutes about how miserable their life is, because they’re BORED!! Especially if you are a WAHM mama like me, who is also a SAHM and a hubby who works the most antisocial hours or worse if he’s FIFO like some of my friends.

So today, it’s the weekend and I’d spent the whole morning with the kids at sports and then some time at the park. I tried to be ambitious and get some work done in the afternoon while bub napped (yup, it’s a miracle he actually napped for 2 hours for a change). But just as luck would have it, my older son decided he had NOTHING to do, and so began the WHINGING!!

He was so ‘BORED’ that he decided to take off all his clothes and pretend he was the King from “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. It took ALL my will power and more to ignore him carrying on. And that’s when something amazing happened!!! The house was quiet (and we Mums know that never happens, and when it does you better run because they’re up to something) and when I went to check, I found him doing this…

how to deal with boredom
Building his ‘Kingdom City’ he said, a hospital with a helipad, his school, a police and fire station and of course a ‘fixing station’.

It is so easy to give in to the situation sometimes, and either, give them screen time or go and ‘play’ with them. I know I’ve done it more times than I care to remember. But, we’re not doing anyone any favours, it’s just a quick fix like putting a Band-Aid over a gushing garden hose pipe! We need to teach them to find ways of entertaining themselves. Don’t get me wrong, it is important that we spend that one on one time with them, but they also need alone time, to learn, explore and more importantly just BE. Take the opportunity of this boredom to guide them, rather than rushing in with a ready-made solution.

So, here are my top 5 ideas that worked best for me when my kids complain about being BORED:

  1.  A Torch: Hand him/her a torch and ask them to go on a treasure hunt around the house! Kids LOVE going on adventures and exploring, you’ll be amazed at the ‘treasure’ they find under the couch, wardrobes and in nooks and crannies you didn’t even know existed in your house.
  2. Obstacle course: My son goes to a multi-sport class every week and his favourite part is the last 10 minutes, when they do an obstacle course. I always suggest this when he’s ‘bored’ but has oodles of energy and they can do this indoors and out (depending on the weather). He loves it as he gets to do it all from scratch, including building the course. I’ve been pretty impressed with the things he comes up, with like using chairs as bridges to crawl under and using his play mats to hop on. If it’s a nice day, they can do this in the garden, again my son gets really creative and uses his bike, scooter, hose pipe and garden chairs to build his course. There’s no better way for them practicing those gross motor skills!!
  3. Good Ol’Blocks: Build your own world within your world, well that’s what he did today, using a whole lot of imagination and creativity!!
  4. A Magnifying Glass: Looking at a line of ants or even the different plants in your garden, opens their eyes to the grandeur of the little things in life. There is so much we could all learn, if we just slow down and learn to be still every once in a while.
  5. Books: My son (4yo) isn’t reading by himself yet, but often I find him lying on the floor lost in his books for ages!! He has memorised all his favourite stories and ‘reads’ (I use this term loosely, I really mean narrates from memory:) them to himself and often makes up his own version too!

With Kinder/school, sports and music activities, swimming classes and playgroups etc, our weeks and lives are very FULL. Though these activities are vital for their cognitive and physical development, children need time to SWITCH the noise and constant bombardment OFF and learn to connect with themselves, their feelings and their thoughts.

A time for introspection. I know you’re thinking, this sounds like a bit much for a child. But if not now, then when? Why only children?! Some quality time spent internalising would do wonders for us adults too!

When we let them figure things out for themselves it allows them to be curious, explore, take initiative, invent, discover, concentrate and above all makes the self-reliant!! So next time you hear the words “I am BORED”, choose to use it as an opportunity to raise a more resilient and independent child.

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