School’s out. No more early mornings. No more homework or after school activities, no more rushing around. Everyone’s finally able to relax, until suddenly, we hear the infamous, “I’m bored mom. There’s nothing to do.”
As parents, we scramble to begin pulling out of our minds all the wonderful things our children could begin doing to entertain themselves. Naturally, we feel this undue pressure to fix things for our children. And today, there are hundreds of options that exist to help us do just that, from Summer camps to digital media. But is boredom really a problem to be fixed?
Why can’t we just let our children be bored? Contrary to societal norms, children don’t need constant stimulation to thrive and in fact, studies show they thrive when just the opposite is true. Boredom allows for connections to be made and insights to be had. When our minds are at rest, we listen more intently to what we need, and what we enjoy, we can hear our own thoughts, and desires and are free to operate without direction or distraction. Our minds really require this time, to just wonder. It was Albert Einstein who once said, “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” And, isn’t this so true? When we allow ourselves to be free, our mind and soul can truly go places.
So, although it’s natural for children to look to their parents to fix what’s wrong, remind yourself that boredom is not a problem to be fixed. Rather, it is a gift to the mind and soul.
A gift, that we too, must remind ourselves of when we fall prey to the urge to want to help our own children out of boredom. It was just a couple weeks back, when we let our children contend with boredom when we had to do a lot of work from home. What did they do? They built a giant sling shot out of two play chairs, a workout band and a cup. Then, my daughter decorated every toy animal she had with paper clothing that she designed herself and our son made some pretty interesting toy cars with his legos. They were so excited to show us what they had made and they were self-entertained for hours.
So, the next time your child utters, “I’m bored mom.” Remember to encourage your child by saying, “That’s a good problem to have, I would love to see what you can do with it.” Then, sit back and watch the growth and creativity unfold in the beautiful beings God has created in our children. The bonus is, you might get a little downtime to yourself!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)