Children benefit from attending school, socialising, reading, attending clubs and taking part in sports and activities. Children also benefit from computers and television. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But something that many parents forget about is the power of boredom. Yes, my children take part in organised activities. But I also give them stretches of time where they have to make their own fun.
Moozles, who is six, has always had a tough time playing on her home. She has always wanted to play with me, or have me right by her side. We have had to work on her independence, on her thinking about what she would like to play. At two years old, Dubz is easier. He just sits on the floor and plays with whatever catches his fancy. And yes, sometimes I will offer baking or crafts. But often, I tell my children to figure out what they want to do. ‘I’m bored’, Moozles sometimes cries. Husband’s favourite comeback? ‘Only boring people feel bored.’ True dat.
Nowadays, children go from activity to activity. And when they’re tired or bored, they just sit in front of the television. Don’t get me wrong, I let my children watch television, but not all the time. And occasionally I let them play on the iPad. But surely this generation of children will miss out on what we gained in our youth. Figuring out what we like playing. Figuring out what is fun and what is boring.
There’s a helpful article in Psychology Today about boredom. Many parents today seem to think that something bad will happen if there child does not have a fun activity to do. But what will happen to those children when they grow up? Do you want a generation of adults lacking in any imagination? Who will imagine and design the next smartphone or even a Walkman (do you remember those? How amazing was it to listen to your tapes on the go?)?
But anyway, do your children a favour. The next time they look bored, or ask you to organise a fun activity, tell them to go make their own fun. There could be books they could be reading. Games of horsey to be played and turning stools into race cars. After all, only boring people feel bored.