Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Boredom, the key to a kids great summer

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Hi. Just a quick post here. I've been gone all summer but with a very valid reason. I have spent my whole summer with my kids. At first, I was terrified! What was I going to do with them? All. Summer. Long. But I survived and learned a few things along the way. The most important lesson? Let them get bored!

I've had my fair share of days of sitting my boys in front of a screen, in order to get a few things done. But overall I wanted to just let them play. At first, it wasn't easy. What with all the planned activities throughout the year, now there was nothing to do. Really. Nothing. There was just time to play. My only rule was, f it was sunny, they were outside. I was even inclined to lock the back door so that they wouldn't come back in.  It did cross my mind, several times.

What proceeded from this indoor embargo was that they discovered boredom. Heck, I even learned about boredom from a whole new perspective; as a mom. As I left them to their own volition, things got interesting rather quickly. That uncomfortable and irritating feeling of boredom set forth a lot of emotions. At first, it wasn't pretty. But I allowed them to seep in it; to bask in the glory of pre-creativity. I commanded they think outside the box. I waited and watched with bated breath. What ensued from that annoying feeling of just plain blah boredom was priceless.

It was only through boredom that my children began to come up with the most creative ways to pass the hot sticky days. The rocks lining the garden became stepping stones along a raging river. The garden shed became their fortress and the surrounding fence was their fortification that kept the neighboring enemy at bay. The branches were their swords and the garbage tops their shields. The swaying water from the sprinkler was the hot lava spraying from an active volcano. The bugs grew to giant proportions and were dangerous dinosaurs. I can go on for days, but I will spare you the ramblings of two boys who battle dinosaurs and turn into cheetahs at a moments notice.

Needless to say, our days ended with dirt encrusted nails, caked on sweat, scraped knees and loads of laundry. The darkened waters of their evening bath were proof enough of a satisfactory day of play. To boot, they slept better and stayed out of trouble, all because I allowed them to just get bored. This is the way children were meant to play. This is the way children should live their summers, as free from technology and scheduled activities as possible.

Nowadays boredom is frowned upon. If someone is bored, they are not being active or productive. Boredom is the antithesis of success and productivity. But is it? Boredom is actually the key to creativity. It unlocks the imagination and allows, especially children, to discover a world of pretend and adventure. Children need boredom. Once the fog of boredom lifts, the mind releases an onslaught of inspiration. It makes you wonder why we don't allow ourselves to get bored more often.

So for the few days left of summer, we will avoid screen time, postpone any playdates, cancel our errands and I'll just allow them to be bored. I won't interject. I won't fret. I will just wait, watch and witness how their creative juices begin to flow. Where ever their imagination takes them I will allow them to soar to new heights and discover new adventures. I'll let them get bored!

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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