Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Let them get bored!

Photo by Blake Meyer on Unsplash

Why should you let your children get bored this summer? Because it will expand their imagination and provide lots more opportunity for fun!!!

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 want them to just play. It's not easy. What with all the planned activities throughout the year, now there is more downtime than ever.  My only rule during the summer is that if it is sunny they have to be outdoors.

What proceeds from this indoor embargo is that they discover boredom. Heck, I even learn about boredom from a whole new perspective; as a mom. As I leave them to their own volition, things begin to get interesting rather quickly. That uncomfortable and irritating feeling of boredom sets forth a slew of emotions. At first, it isn't pretty. But I allow them to sit with these emotions; to bask in the glory of pre-creativity. I command they think outside the box. I wait and watch with bated breath. What ensues from the annoying feeling of just plain blah boredom is priceless.

It is only through boredom that my children begin to come up with the most creative ways to pass these hot sticky days. The rocks lining the garden become stepping stones along a raging river. The garden shed becomes a fortress and the surrounding fence their fortification that keeps the neighboring enemy at bay. The branches are their swords and the garbage can tops their shields. The swaying water from the sprinkler is the hot lava spraying from an active volcano. The bugs grow to giant proportions and are 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 end with dirt-encrusted nails, caked-on sweat, scraped knees and loads of laundry. The dark waters of their evening bath are sure proof of a satisfactory day of play. To boot, they sleep better and stay out of trouble, all because I allow them to just get bored. This is the way children are 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. We think that 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 this summer, we will try our best to avoid too much screen time, postpone playdates, cancel our errands and I'll just allow them to get 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 Johnny McClung on Unsplash

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