why boredom is good for your child

5 Reasons to Let Your Kids Be Bored

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Do you know why boredom is good for your child? My daughter mopes around the house, screaming “I’m bored!” until one of her parents reacts and gives her attention. When I was a child, I didn’t have my parents’ constant attention. I had to find something to do, especially in the summer when school was out. Sure, I may have gotten stung by a few bees and fallen out of a treehouse. I even got hit in the head with a baseball, but those are golden memories.

We are in a different time now. But I wonder if, by relieving so much of our kids’ boredom, we are stealing something precious from them. Here are 5 reasons to let your kids be bored.

Boredom fosters creativity.

Being bored has been linked to increased creativity. It’s an opportunity to create your own fun. If your kids are bored, don’t step in quickly. Let them discover their creative side. Remind them of the resources at hand and even challenge them to get creative. Kids have remarkable minds when left untethered. The great author Charles Dickens would take long walks to flee boredom and set his creative mind free. 

Boredom solves problems.

If you want your kid to be a problem solver, then let him or her be bored. Boredom is a unique challenge within itself, and that’s why boredom is good for your child. If we constantly answer our kids’ boredom by offering them things to do, they miss an opportunity to solve their own problems. It’s not wrong to provide positive activities at times, but challenge them first to find their own creative way out of being bored. The same skills used to solve boredom help them solve other problems throughout their lives.

Boredom uncovers passions.

If we constantly entertain our kids when they are bored, they will miss out on the discovery of passions.

I wouldn’t have discovered my passion for playing guitar if not for boredom. I broke my leg when I was 16 and had to keep it elevated for weeks. With nothing to do while lying there, I picked up my guitar and started fiddling with it. Soon I was playing my favorite songs. If we constantly entertain our kids when they are bored, they will miss out on the discovery of passions. “Boredom encourages us to shift to goals and projects that are more fulfilling than the ones we are currently pursuing,” according to Shahram Heshmat, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Illinois.

Boredom relieves stress.

When our kids are bored, their first response is to pick up their phones. After a while, they will become overstimulated and burn out, making boredom feel even worse. We must encourage boredom away from technology so their minds and bodies can detox. Boredom serves as a relief from that stimulation and can reduce stress. This freedom creates space for the mind to wander, the body to calm, and the brain to process what’s important. 

Boredom changes your outlook.

Kids don’t like to wait for something to happen. They want every minute of the day filled in with something—at least my kids do. Yet, boredom actually can change your outlook from “there’s nothing to do” to “I’m free to do whatever!” We can teach our kids that boredom is actually a chance to look for new opportunities. Being bored can be a gift to our kids because it gives them time to find that toy they shoved into the back of the closet or to practice the guitar scales they’ve been avoiding.

Sound off: What are some other reasons why boredom is good for your child?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What can you do to pass the time when you’re bored?”