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The benefits of boredom

31/07/2023

The benefits of boredom

Yes, you heard me right! There really are huge benefits in letting your kids get bored! No really. Though this can be an unpopular notion, research suggests that only 1 in 5 parents and carers agree that it is good for kids to be bored from time to time.

Today’s non-stop world and our modern family life heavily reliant on childcare and out of school activities has led to a belief that all children should have they’re days toped and tailed with so many activities, quite often panic ensues if there is nothing to do.

It is so easy to fill our days with lots and lots to do, and be entertained 100% of the time, but for developmental reasons allowing time to be bored is great for our kids for many reasons:

Develops problem solving skills:

In a world where kids are constantly stimulated and have their play time ‘managed’ via activities or clubs. Children often learn to expect their carers to come up with something for them to do. 

Stop; boredom will help kids develop their problem-solving skills. What better problem to solve than to fill time, of their own accord?  This encourages initiative and enables them to be self-reliant.

Inspires imagination & creativity.

When children are left to their own devices, they’re forced to use their imagination to find ways to amuse themselves. Giving kids the opportunity to try out they’re ideas, brings out their sense of discovery, curiosity and helps them find joy in what they are doing.

It has also been proven that people are more creative following completing boring or repetitive tasks.

So allow kids to occupy themselves, encourage their imagination and creativity and reap the rewards of a kids with a new found belief in their ability.

Teaches resilience and builds confidence.

Encourage a have a go attitude, so they are not put off when things get tough, is a great skill for later in life! So even though we all want to believe that we are great at everything, experiencing failure within free time without the fear of judgement is essential for kids to learn resilience and grit when with their peers and not be put off when they need to stretch themselves.

Having tried new things, tested their limits and taken risks kids confidence will blossom and their self-esteem will have a huge boost.

Helps Children form relationships.

Engaging in unstructured play with other children helps develop interpersonal skills, learn how to collaborate, and negotiate, as they learn to develop activities together.

Spending unstructured time together also helps them read body language and make eye contact with each other, something that is only learnt through experience.

Improves mental health.

Kid’s brains need a break too, time to relax and refocus, its important.

We all love to have time to sit and allow our mind wander, to embrace our surroundings, and just ‘be’. It allows children to breath, take a look around them, think their own thoughts and enjoy the moment.

It’s great for everyone’s mental health and specifically kids. 

Creates a sense of belonging.

If kids are on the go all the time, they don’t have time to appreciate their surroundings and get to know their community. 

A bit of down time will open their eyes and allow them to engage not only with their environment but the people around them.

Creates a happier childhood.

A simple life and a contented child is one that will cherish their friendships, laughter, and nature.

When we look back at our childhoods, we rarely remember material things, its often the simple things we remember, so give it a go. Encourage a bit of boredom and see where it may lead!

How to encourage children to entertain themselves: 

Small steps first: 

Don’t drop your kids in at the deep end, create and activity chart, including options and idea’s. Such as play a board game, draw a picture, read a book, learn a new dance etc etc.

This will lend a helping hand and make the transition a little less painful.

Have an activity free day. Allow the whole family a day a week, if possible, with nothing arranged or on. Allow everyone the time to just ‘be’.

Provide free play and allow mess.

Make a den, create your own marble run with things around the house. Create a sculpture from the contents of the recycling bin. Head outside to open spaces and allow them the freedom to roam a little, stand back and allow them to explore (while being close at hand of course).  

Be realistic.

You know your child’s personality if you have a child that can’t sit still. Don’t expect them to concentrate on a task for hours on end. Whereas others will happily sit and work away for the whole afternoon.  

Remember the aim is for everyone to have some downtime, and to enjoy your time, therefore don’t force the issue, having some time to their own devices may not work every time, and if it’s not working out try another day…

A Binky is a hop and a skip of sheer joy.

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