Bored, I’m so bored, bored bored bored. I’m bored to death, audible heavy sigh. Bored, bored bored. Is this a common and recurring chorus in your home this summer? Being bored is boring. Or is it?
Children need to sit in their boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves. ~Dr. Vanessa LaPointe
Being bored is saying no to chaos and yes to calm. Being bored is saying no to consumerism and yes to minimalism. Being bored is saying no to all the outside stimulus and saying yes to the imagination.
How do we teach kids to be bored when it’s so boring? Part of it is getting past the mundane drone of their current state of being, then having the patience for them to figure out what to do in the nothingness. What did you use to do when you were bored as a kid? Was its endless games of “I spy,” crafting paper airplanes and seeing whose will go the furthest or was it sitting in your room mixing potions of powders and oils (like Lani used to do).
Good things can come from idle hands and minds. When not engrossed in technology, or participating in structured and planned activities, you can be sure kids’ minds (or yours for that matter) won’t be still. Their minds will be doing what it does best – thinking. And probably some of the best and most creative thinking you’ve ever had happens when you’re bored. Just ask Tolkien. He was so bored with repetitively grading certification papers, that he wrote the Hobbit.
Some really cool things happen when you are bored.
- My twins, when they are not allowed on electronics, they have created their own worlds and are using Latin to name the continents and ocean in their imaginary world, along with speaking a made-up language in their imaginary world.
- My daughter Stella’s chore is recycling but only half gets taken out because she keeps the rest to create a DIY project.
- My friend Lani’s son Zephyr creates entire stories and scenes with the most random toys if given enough time to dig in and explore with them.
- I find that I do my best creative thinking when taking a walk WITHOUT the earbuds in.
Boredom is a luxury. It’s freedom from constantly feeling the need to do something, be somewhere, or say something. It’s the luxury of just being fully and completely in the moment. ~Bill Byer
What will you create, imagine, or discover this summer by being bored?
This summer, it’s time to take back our boredom. We have a challenge for you, play along, share what you do or just try some of these ideas when you feel bored and feel like picking up the phone, tablet, or turning on the tv. (It’s good to give our brains rest to mindless tv every so often- we all do that). But there are SO many other ways we can quiet our minds and it can be about really doing not much of anything. Give yourself moments of not being entertained all the time or feeling like you have a huge to-do list to complete.
5 Ways to Bust Your Boredom
- Find a time in your day where you choose boredom over being mindlessly entertained by technology. Here are some ideas!
Create a boredom buster jar like this one for when you hear the words “I’m bored.”
- Standing in Line
- instead of picking up your phone, connect with someone in line.
- Car Rides
- Have a no electronics rule for rides under 2 hours.
- Play music and have a car dance-off, play car games, or just daydream. Our family has a contest over who can spot the most wildlife.
- Make materials accessible
- Have a bin of unusual objects, like your junk drawer, and see what they come up with to amuse themselves. What will they do with a few paperclips, clothespins, scraps of paper and chopsticks? Let them make a mess – let them seek new experiences. AND don’t clean up after them as they are playing. Just let them play.
- When our family travels overseas we don’t travel with toys my kids simply play with whatever they have on hand which usually isn’t much. They play store by drawing items and toys on paper and then play with hand-drawn money for example.
- Be Alone
Find a time in your day to do something (gasp!) on your own – Kids too
- Adults: Go to a coffee shop, happy hour, a hike, walk around the ‘hood, sit in your yard with a book.
- Kids: Those with siblings- make sure each child has their own time where they can be quiet away from chaos; listen to their needs. Our singleton kids may be used to it, but don’t give in to the need to always be entertaining them with other playmates.
We would LOVE to hear from you…what are some of your ideas for when your child says “I’m bored?”
With Deep Breaths,