Mom, hear me – it’s ok for kids to be bored. I know, shocking huh? Yes, it is actually healthy for our kids to be bored.
I realize this may not be what you want to hear right before we begin summer. I get it. I have three kids and I’m already dreading the summer a little bit myself. Especially this summer, because we all have spent the last 2 months in quarantine with our kids.
Just know I understand how you feel. I’m in the exact same boat at you are. My passion at Frugal Fun Mom is to give you as many ideas of how to enjoy your kids on a budget so you can afford the stay at home mom life.
Keep reading and I’ll explain why it’s ok for your kids to be bored, as well as give you some frugally fun ways to battle the boredom, without sticking your kids in front a screen.
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“Mom, I’m Bored!”
We have all heard our kids say, “Mom, I’m Bored!”
It’s the worst feeling, huh? I hate it when my kids tell me they are bored, because I feel like I’m not doing my job as a mom well enough. If I were, there is no reason why they would be bored.
Wrong! No, this is flawed thinking, and trust me, I’m still struggling with this too. I’ve always hated when my kids tell me they are bored, but I’m learning to love it.
I truly love to hang out with my kids. I enjoy their company very much, but there are many times, when I want my space too. Or when I need time to get stuff done. Where I’d prefer if they would just go do something on their own – and not in front of a screen.
Where Did Their Imagination Go?
I often wonder why it’s hard for kids to be creative on their own? Where did their imagination go? Did I, as a mom, not foster their creativity enough? Why are my kids so bored? Why do a lot of kids struggle to find things to do that don’t include a screen?
I Crippled My Kids
Sometimes I think I crippled my kids. I had so much fun doing things with them, and in a sense, entertaining them with activity, playdates, classes, etc. that they never learned how to develop their own creativity.
How else can a kid develop their sense of creativity and imagination if they are never given a chance, because they are so busy? What have I done?!
Do you ever feel the same way? That you might have crippled your child’s imagination too?
Perfect Opportunity For Change
Now is the perfect opportunity for change – start this summer! Due to Covid-19 all regular summer plans have been cancelled. We can’t go to the pool, splash pad, park, baseball games, soccer games, zoo, museums, vacation Bible school, camp – we can’t even go to church!
What a perfect opportunity to make a change! In my house, now is the time for my kids to be bored! It’s ok for kids to be bored!
Why It’s Ok To Be Bored
There are several reasons why it’s ok for kids to be bored. Keep in mind, just like it’s ok for kids to be bored, it’s also ok for you, mom, to be bored too.
I think I never let my kids be bored because I didn’t want to be bored either. All the activities, social events, playdates, and crafts were fun for me too!
But, when I’m so busy, I rarely have time to think for myself, let alone hear what God wants from me that day. Rushing around all day from one fun thing, to another, doesn’t leave any time for me to just be me.
Before you know it, the summer is over and what did you do for yourself? Did you ever get the pantry organized, or the basement sorted out so you can have that garage sale you’ve been meaning to have for years?
Mom, you need some boredom time too – some time to think, plan, dream, and get stuff done.
Boredom is important for all of us! Boredom supplies that sense of mental rest that helps you really dream, think, and plan for action. You need to bored as much as your kids does!
Boredom Develops Creativity
Boredom does many things for kids, but the most important is that being bored develops creativity in your child. Being bored encourages your child to think of something to do to keep themselves busy.
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When your child is struggling with coming up with things to do, this is the time to be silent as a mom. Don’t give them ideas of things to do – force them to come up with ideas on their own! Don’t rescue them by giving them a bunch of fun ideas – they can figure it out on their own!
Maybe your child will use the same toys they always use in a completely different way, like taking apart a Lego boat and turning it into a Lego zoo instead! Just set them loose and let them figure it out.
Boredom Gets Them Thinking
Boredom also encourages your kids to think. How often do we, as moms, structure the day for our kids so tightly that there is no wiggle room allowed for thinking.
They get up, eat, get dressed, and then we have their whole day planned for them. There is never a chance to be creative because we are so busy telling them what they should do next.
Let your child think. Let them dream, build, create. Loosen up the schedule and you will see your child begin to develop their own imagination!
Boredom Helps Encourage Self Play
Do you ever get tired of being your child’s entertainment all the time? Oh boy do I! And, you’d think with older kids this wouldn’t be such a problem, but it still is! Especially if you don’t want your child on a screen all the time!
My kids struggle with finding things to play and do on their own. They always want to be doing something with someone, and often that someone is me – or that someone is a screen.
While I love to do stuff with them, it’s pretty hard to run a business when your kids are constantly wanting mom to entertain them. And, the last thing I want to do is allow any more screen time just because they are bored.
Entertaining themselves is very important and necessary for preparing them for adulthood. We all know that being an adult is hard and not always exciting – there are plenty of days when folding the laundry is not fun – in fact it’s boring, but it still needs to be done.
Our kids need to learn that life is not always super fun and exciting, and plenty of days are boring, and that is ok! They might as well learn this at a young age.
Things to Remember
If you find that you are in the same boat as me, with a long summer ahead of you, and dealing with kid boredom, here are some things to remember.
- Being bored is great! It’s healthy, good and necessary for your kids to become creative adults.
- You are not a bad mom if your kids are bored.
- Don’t rescue your kids from boredom – they need to figure it out.
- Don’t over schedule your kids so they have no time to be bored.
- Allow for boredom.
- Screen time is not the answer for boredom.
- Remember, let your kids be bored – it’s good for them!
What You Can Do About It
So, Katrina, what are we supposed to do? When my kid says he’s bored, what do I do?
I’m so glad you asked, because here is what you can do about.
Nothing. You heard me. You do nothing.
Tell your child that they need to figure out what they want to do, and then leave them alone. Don’t provide a bunch of ideas for them, just let them be.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s going to take some getting used to. But, do not, and I repeat, do not give them a device to play after a few minutes of trying to find something to do.
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Screen time is not the answer to boredom.
I prefer to use screen time as a reward for a day well lived. Meaning, I like to allow for screen time towards the late afternoon or evening, after we’ve had a full day of all things but video games. In our house screen time is not allowed before 3-4pm, and that is only after daily chores, piano practice, exercise, and reading have been completed.
If all those things have been completed, long before 3pm, then it’s time for your kids to be bored and find something to do.
Remember, it’s ok for your kids to be bored, and if being bored is already a pretty standard thing for your child, and you would prefer they are not quite as creative, use this list of more than 80 ideas of frugal free fun for your kids!