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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

7 Reasons Why Boredom is Beneficial for Children

Photo by Shinichi Sugiyama (Flickr)

When my girls tell me that they're bored, I smile. I know they want me to entertain them or give them an electronic device, but I usually send them off to play with no direction or assistance. Why don't I solve their boredom? I believe boredom serves an important role in child development and gives kids seven benefits.

Learn to Entertain Themselves

While I love to play with my kids, I also want them to be comfortable, confident, and capable of entertaining themselves. This skill teaches them how to make decisions for themselves. It also develops their self-reliance and shows them that they can find happiness alone, which can help them say no to peer pressure and feel comfortable in a variety of circumstances.

Become More Independent

One of my parenting goals is raising strong, confident, and empowered young women who are prepared to take on the world. As my girls decide what to do during their free time and engage in solo activities they enjoy, they become more confident and independent.

Nurture Creativity and Imagination

Give kids plenty of unstructured time and they can explore, build, and create without feeling rushed. This gift of time opens creative doors in their minds that may otherwise remain locked. Our kids could invent a cure for cancer, end poverty, or become world leaders one day because they experienced boredom and had time to nurture creativity and imagination.

Discover New Passions

After one too many boring car rides, my older daughter decided to learn how to knit. I enjoy watching her discover and develop a new passion that sprang out of boredom. Our kids can use boredom as a springboard to stretch their wings, think outside the norm, and discover new interests and passions.

Work Through Emotions

Our kids can feel stress, anger, grief, or guilt, but they don't always have the ability to process or express these strong emotions and feelings. I've watched too many kids self-destruct because they hid their emotions and feelings behind an activity, screen, or distraction. Let's give our kids unstructured play time: As they relax and unwind, they may acknowledge, address, and work through the emotions and feelings they carry and become healthier and happier kids.

Improve Their Inner Lives

Time alone, without noise, distractions, or people, gives kids space to improve their inner lives. They hear themselves think, embrace their uniqueness, and discover deep truths about their beliefs, values, and interests. Of course, I love play dates and time with friends, but our kids must learn to appreciate solitude, too. It's essential for their sanity, self-esteem, and health.

Learn Gratitude

If your kids are like mine and have a playroom full of toys but still say they're bored, they may need a boredom break. Boredom forces kids to slow down, turn off the volume around them, and realize that they're surrounded by blessings. My girls become more grateful human beings every time they experience boredom.

As parents and caregivers, we often feel obligated to entertain our kids all of the time. I encourage you to help your kids embrace boredom, though. It gives them a lot of benefits and helps them become more well-rounded individuals. What other boredom benefits have you discovered?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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