Adults are not the only ones who get bored, kids also get bored as well. Just like emotions, boredom is a two-edged sword. You have to teach your kids how to handle boredom or else it becomes a burden on them.
Boredom has advantages and it also has disadvantages if you don’t help your children handle them well or teach them how to make proper use of boredom.
This post will expose the advantages of boredom and also the disadvantages. This, in turn, will help you identify this unique moment in your child and start teaching them from a young age how to use boredom to their advantage.
The truth is that humans can’t avoid boredom, it is an inevitable emotion.
Why You Have To Train Your Kids On How To Handle Boredom
It might not be healthy for your kids if you don’t teach them how to properly handle boredom. One of the causes of boredom is lack of engagement.
Learning how to engage your child and also teaching them how to engage themselves when bored will help them into adulthood.
Bertrand Russell said in his book, The Conquest for Happiness: “A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a nation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase”.
Disadvantages of Boredom
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Bored children don’t pay attention and we are aware of the negative consequences of this. It can affect their academics and also trigger stress.
This is why you see them fidgeting in class, doodling, or looking for other ways to keep their minds active when lectures are going on. As a parent or teacher, you are supposed to identify the signs of boredom and not to assign negatives to the child.
This will only increase the stress the child is going through and will not remove the feeling of boredom. Check out this post on mindfulness activities for kids to improve attentiveness.
Many studies have proven that under-activity in the brain causes health threats by promoting atrophy of the nerve cells in the hippocampus region of the brain.
Atrophy is the reduction in the functions of an organ. This can be caused by an injury, lack of use, or disease.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for verbal and spatial memory.
So when next you see a bored child, he/she is just saying “Help me, my brain is beginning to atrophy from lack of use”. You should respond and handle them with love.
Children who complain of boredom are only trying to stay healthy. They are not just complaining but offering you diagnostic information.
They are telling you that they don’t feel challenged and trying to let you know that their brains are not stimulated in healthy ways. Don’t push this aside or tell them they are being unserious.
You have to listen to this and do something about it.
You can’t listen to your kids’ complain about boredom or help them if you don’t know what to do about it. Don’t worry, this post will help you in this area.
Now, you see why you need to intervene and engage your children when they tell you that they are bored or show signs of boredom.
Before we give you those tips, let’s see some of the advantages of boredom.
Advantages of Boredom
In this fast-paced world, it is almost a crime to be bored or a bad thing for a child to complain of being bored. Despite the mindset surrounding boredom, it still has a lot of advantages.
Some of them are:
Encourages creativity and imagination
When children are bored and left to themselves, they are forced to do something. They are forced to be more creative and they put their imaginative powers into action.
They just find ways to amuse themselves. When you give them the opportunity to try things on their own or you play along with them in doing this, it will build their sense of discovery.
It will also build their sense of curiosity and help them learn what brings them joy. In this way, they will always do this when bored.
Some studies even show that children who are given a range of boring tasks to complete show more imagination when they are made to take part in creative activities.
Giving children the opportunity to take initiatives and think of ways they can occupy themselves will help them cope with boredom effectively.
You don’t have to dictate this to them, they have to find it on their own if you want to stimulate their creativity and imagination.
Teaches them “grit”
Being bored and thinking of ways to amuse themselves can help kids develop grit/resilience.
A child who has never experienced failure will not know how to deal with it. When your child has free time to try things out without having the fear of failure, it boosts his/her grit and resilience.
Develops problem-solving skills in your child
Stop intervening whenever your child is at a loose end. Allow them to be bored and think of ways to amuse themselves. This will help develop their ability to solve problems.
When your child is constantly stimulated, he/she will feel uncomfortable if they have nothing to do. This on the other hand, will encourage them to solve problems.
Helps your child build relationships
Giving your children unstructured time to play with their age groups will help them develop interpersonal skills, something that is lacking in this generation.
They will learn how to collaborate and negotiate with each other and learn how to develop joint activities. This helps them learn how to communicate, read body language, make eye contact, and other things that can only be learnt from experience.
Builds confidence in children
When your children can occupy themselves and do so successfully, their confidence and self-esteem will shoot up.
They will love to try new things with their free time and also take risks. All these will build their confidence.
Improves mental health
Don’t allow your children to be too busy that there is hardly any time for them to be still and allow their minds to wander.
Give them time to just be, think their own thoughts, and even get to know themselves better.
Research has shown that allowing the mind to wander instead of forcing it on activities every time is good for mental health.
Boredom can help your children to daydream and this leads to improved imagination, creation, and problem-solving abilities.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe said “Children have to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves”.
Gives your children a sense of belonging
Giving your children free time to just be by themselves gives them a greater sense of belonging and community.
If you always make your children busy, they will take their surroundings for granted.
They have to develop a sense of belonging in the environment where they live.
Makes children happier
Boredom can make your children’s childhood happier. When speaking about our childhood memories, we talk more about the simple things, the nature, laughter, and connections.
It is very rare to hear children talking about material things. All the technologies and activities we think are making childhood richer now are simply getting in the way of a simple but contented life.
So you see why you shouldn’t get mad or complain when your kid tells you he/she is bored. You just have to engage them in a healthy way and also teach them how to do it.
You can also allow them to engage themselves in whatever they love doing. That’s how passion is discovered.
Don’t overschedule their time, give them opportunity to play. Don’t train your child in a way that they start to panic if they have nothing to do.
It is not advisable to increase their extracurricular activities or make their lives highly structured. This will give them little or no time to just be.
When next your children tell you that they are bored, you can say positive things like “Wow, now it’s time for great things to happen”. As they grow, they will associate positivity to boredom and lone moments.
They will see bored moments as opportunities and not deficits. However, if you don’t allow your kids to experience boredom or you don’t teach them how to handle it, they will turn to alcohol abuse, drugs, anxiety, depression, over eating, and an increased risk of making mistakes.
Fun Things Bored Kids Can Do
The best way to handle boredom in kids is to engage them and then teach them how to do it on their own. You can also allow them to find creative ways to amuse themselves.
If they run out of ideas, suggest some options like:
1. Write a story
Suggest to your kids to write a story on any topic of their choice. It can be of a family dog who gets in trouble all the time or of their favorite toy’s adventure in the house when everyone is sleeping.
Story writing kick starts the imagination of children and keeps their creative juices flowing.
2. Paint your rock collection
A way to get your kids familiar with nature and their environment is by taking them for hikes.
When hiking, they should make it a habit to pick smooth and interesting rocks home.
Later, when they are bored, they can clean the rocks and paint them in any color of their choice.
The best rock will be displayed in the room.
3. Scavenger hunt
You can play a game with your children called the scavenger hunt. It can be played in nature or in their surroundings and it is lots of fun if it is done as a group activity.
Send them out and give them 10 or 15 minutes to find rocks, plants or leaves of a kind, or anything that will perfectly fit into a jar.
You can kick up this fun game up by several notches if you have a metal detector. You can also print one offline and let them find the items on the list.
4. Write a story about your week
Tell your children to recall all the incidents that happened during the week and allow them to weave it in the form of a story using plenty of drawings and words.
You can go a step ahead and tell them to make a cover photo for the story book of the week. They should bind the sheets together to make a book.
5. Balloon games
This simple game is greatly enjoyed by kids of all ages. Their aim is to keep the balloons from touching the ground. A lot of team play and efforts are involved in this game.
Set a time limit and reward them at the end.
6. Read them a story
Take a break and read your kids a very interesting story.
7. Blow bubbles
You can get bubbles from a store or make them using dish soap and water. Let them have fun around the house with this.
8. Go through old photos
Kids love seeing themselves as babies and their relatives. This is fun and relives old memories.
9. Singing competition
Tell the kids to sing their favorite songs and put your score on a paper plate. Hold it up to show them what they got.
10. Bike rides
If your child is old enough to ride a bike, you can suggest he go for a bike ride in the neighbourhood with friends.
This won’t only boost his mood and clear boredom, it will improve his health as exercise is of great benefit to the body.
11. Write a letter to a relative
This is much fun for kids since writing letters is outdated. When they are bored, tell them to write letters to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or their friends.
This wonderful art is fast fading among the younger generation, so this is both a fun activity and also a wonderful learning experience.
12. Dance party
Make a playlist of your children’s favorite songs and play it when they are bored.
Tell them to dance and the best dancer get a reward. Watch as their spirits are rejuvenated and brought back from boredom.
13. Bake something
This is a rewarding activity and your kids will definitely need your help with this.
Tell them to help you make a pizza or a cake. Allow them to work on the dough, toppings, and the cream so that they can also learn apart from having fun.
14. Pick up an art challenge
You can Google and find a number of interesting art challenges online that can keep your kids intrigued and entertained.
Find ways to use new tools and materials to make challenging arts. This will help their creative juices flow.
15. The floor is lava
This is one of the oldest games kids love so much. They should collectively decide which furniture is rock and what is lava. Then each time someone yells, “the floor is lava”, everybody will run to a safe spot before the time runs out.
Get your kids a nice set of colors and coloring books. This will keep them entertained and glued.
17. Karaoke party
You don’t need a karaoke machine for your children to have fun. Get the audio of their favorite song from YouTube while you give them your hairbrush to use as a microphone.
Watch them perform and have fun.
This is a great way to burn off energy and improve their health. you can create your exercise routine or follow along on YouTube.
19. Paper airplane race
Allow them to get creative by making paper airplanes of different shapes and even sizes.
Then they should have a race between the airplanes and see which plane makes it the furthest.
20. Sidewalk art
Sketching on a sheet of paper is fun for kids but doing this on a sidewalk is several notches higher.
Give them a set of colorful chalks and allow them to unleash their creativity.
Leave them to come up with an original theme or suggest for them.
21. Make a when I grow up poster
Teach kids to get creative and imaginative whenever they complain of boredom.
Help them to let their imagination run wild. They should make a list of all the things they would do when they become adults.
You can ask them to turn it into drawings. They should include their customs and the rest of the family members standing with them.
22. Play treasure hunt
This fun activity is not for parties alone or family gatherings. When your child is bored, play this game with him/her.
Choose something you know your child will like to find like their favorite toy or a bar of chocolate. Hide this in a place where they are most likely to look for it.
Also leave clues to help them search for it.
23. Expert presentation
Choose a topic that your child loves or tell them to choose a topic they will love to speak on.
Ask them to look for the information they can find on the internet and get ready to make a presentation.
Give them plenty of time to research.
24. Grandparents interview
Allow your kids to make a list of questions they would love to ask their grandparents.
You will be amazed at all the wonderful things they would love to learn about the past.
25. Printable activities
You can buy an activity book or print one from an online site. These activity pages will keep your kids happy and excited.
26. Hide and seek
Kids love this game a lot. Take turns in hiding and seeking.
27. Re-organize the room
If you promise them a good reward at the end, they would clean and re-organize the room without complaining.
Move a few things around, replace something old or add new accessories to give the room a fresh look and feel.
Another time, you can ask them to help you out in the kitchen.
28. Toy cleanup
Apart from the fun in this, this is a good time to go through your kids’ toys and let them choose what they want and what they don’t want again.
Tell them they can donate their unwanted toys to kids who don’t have any.
29. Build a masterpiece
Give your children Legos or other building toys to build a masterpiece.
30. Wash the family car
Do you know kids like engaging in tasks that make them feel like adults?
You can turn car washing into fun time by making it a role-playing game.
31. Learn how to make slime
You can easily buy slime in a store but if you want your children to have a great learning experience, you can teach them how to make it.
Your child will learn basic chemistry and why substances behave the way they do.
They are many recipes online. Teach your kids how to make slimes that have interesting properties.
32. Create an obstacle course
Younger children especially love this fun activity. Use carton boxes and help them build an obstacle course within the yard.
They can play tunnels or anything that works for the game. Older kids will love to make their own obstacle course.
Allow them to do this and let them show you their accomplishment.
33. Take a mindful walk
This is different from a regular walk where you and your kids go with an agenda. In a mindful walk, your kids will take time to notice the little details as they walk.
They will take notes of the sounds, birds, animals, and even the smell of the air. They do these while walking without intending to go anywhere.
34. Plant a garden
This is both fun and a wonderful learning experience as kids will learn this essential skill for life.
Buy seeds and share them. It can be a simple flowering plant or a vegetable they can plant in a pot.
35. Do a puzzle
Putting a puzzle together can build skills and patience in your children. It also helps time go faster.
If they can’t finish it, they should leave it on the table and come back to it later.
36. Living room picnic
Set up a picnic in the living room during lunch. Set a blanket on the floor and enjoy your lunch picnic in style.
37. Make a sock puppet
Give your children a pair of white socks and show them how to make a puppet. Fill the white socks with other socks or clothes.
Use rubber bands and sketch pens to make puppets out of them. Tell your kids to put them on a show.
38. Backyard camping
Camp in the backyard in your house and pull out the tents. Have a barbecue to make things fun for them.
The children should help you out in pitching the tent. Get the fire ready and sleep in the tents. Your kids will have the full experience of camping.
39. Lego hunt
For this interesting game, you need a set of Lego. Make sure you get different colors and get four pieces of paper having corresponding colors.
Hide the blocks in different places of the house, or give the oldest sibling to hide it. Let the younger ones search for this.
Once they find all, they should pile each block on the corresponding color sheet.
40. Build a fort
Everybody can relate to this fun time activity. Your children can build their forts using carton boxes from the attic, pillows, blankets, furniture, etc.
Children learn a lot by building forts. They can also sit in the fort they build and play games.
41. Art collage
One of the best boredom-busting activities for kids is art collage. It brings up old memories and helps them to be creative.
Tell your kids to draw and cut out the drawings for a collage. All the drawings should be adhered on a pasteboard. They can make it random or you suggest a theme for them.
These are some ideas of what you can do to bring your children out of boredom and keep them excited.