My kids are finally back at school. I’m so happy for them that this is possible, and delighted to have some time for myself. I think for most of us, there have been pros and cons to having them all home. The biggest battle over these past few months has definitely been screen time. It makes me mad, but also sad, that when I tell the kids to get off their screens they only manage to entertain themselves for a short period of time before saying “I’m bored”. My first reaction is always, “only boring people get bored.” Next comes my tirade of… “There are so many things to play with, so many things to do! Go outside – we have scooters, bikes, soccer goals, a basketball hoop, chalk to draw with, a table tennis table and more. Take the dog out!”
It makes me wonder whether we are going to have a whole generation of kids who are so addicted to technology that they can no longer be entertained by other things. As parents, it is our job to show our kids that it’s not difficult to find “other things” to do. Here’s why and advice on how…
Boredom is good for us – it helps to stimulate creativity and focus our concentration.
When we’re bored we are forced to seek out something to do, something that stimulates us, and being creative helps meet this need. Being bored also helps train our concentration and attention. Screens and devices, while occupying us, actually decrease our ability to concentrate. “Solving” our boredom by finding something to do teaches us perseverance and patience. Without external stimulation, our minds are required to “get creative”, to find something else to arouse our interest and hold our focus.
So, the next time you hear the cry “I’m bored”, help your child think of things they might like to do. Generate some new ideas together and then let them choose something to engage in. Distract them away from those feelings of boredom and set them on a creative path to designing their own entertainment! It’s what we had to do as kids and we excelled at it!
We want our kids to be curious, good-natured and spirited and to have perseverance and confidence, so we need to encourage them to explore, create and invent!
Let’s be honest for a moment and also reflect on our own screen time. Although I know I have always kept busy, have always had hobbies, and as a kid was really good at entertaining myself, but watching my kids did make me stop and think about all the things I used to do, that I no longer do, because I also waste time on my phone.
It’s time to remember how much we used to do without technology, and how much we enjoyed it, and get back to doing some of those “other things”. Go on, find your inner kid and get creative!