What to do when your kids say, "I'm Bored."
When our kids say they are bored, our immediate response is: It's good to be bored!
Well, just keep scrolling, all the way to the bottom, because I have the perfect solution for you!
I know you know how it goes: Mom, I have nothing to do. Mom, I am bored. Mom, mom, mom!
When my kids start this, I no longer get frustrated. I simply remind them, it's good to be bored. I assure them, they will find something to do. And sure enough, within a few minutes, they are busy making a shark out of cardboard, finding rocks in the dirt, playing basketball outside, or creating some other adventure.
Yes, there are times when they nag to the point where I want to scream inside. But I take a breath, and offer a couple of suggestions sometimes, but the overall message is that it is good for them to be bored. It's good for them to have to make their own fun, rather than expect me to entertain them. When it's up to them to find something to do, they exercise their brains, get creative and have fun!
If you are like me, and it makes you sad to watch your kids turn into noodles on the couch playing video games or watching movies for hours, then, welcome. We are the same.
And if you recognize that you may have created some bad habits around screen time because you just needed a break and it was easier to let them watch a movie or play a video game than listen to them fight and argue, then, welcome. We are the same.
And if you are ready to break those habits and let kids be kids outside, in the fresh air, using their imagination, making a mess of the house y'all just cleaned up because you know that’s what’s best for them, then, welcome. We are the same.
Here’s the reality though, decreasing screen-time can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s not easy.
Kids (and parents) are accustomed to always being entertained instead of discovering new and creative ideas. And why is this so important to discover new and creative ideas?! Their brain (and our brain) NEED it! It needs to be reset! It needs to have the opportunity to think!
According to Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., and author of Psychology Today blogpost The 5 Benefits of Boredom, “The ability to focus and self-regulate is correlated with the ability to handle boredom. Learning to endure boredom at a young age is great preparation for developing self-control skills (regulating one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions).”
I am also very aware that in homes with multiple children, once those screens go off, the kids argue and/or fight with one another. And there is no way to dance around it: it's inconvenient.
We will have to stop what we are doing and help them with conflict resolution and coping strategies. We will have to teach them these life skills. These are important things that they need as they grow up into adults. Are we truly loving them well by denying them this opportunity to be creative, problem solve, seek joy, and use their imagination?
And friend, I'm exhausted too, but just know, that at the end of the day, you will have helped your child's brain grow stronger, you will have taught them how to have healthy communication and stronger relationships.
I always ask myself, what am I doing right now that is more important than that? Nothing.
You know, there's a quote by Glenon Doyle that says,
“I find myself worrying that when we hand our children phones we steal their boredom from them.
As a result, we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess of the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt’s guitar and start strumming.”
So I encourage you today, when children say they are "bored," simply respond with "Good."
We have an incredible resource for you. It’s 25 screen-free family night out ideas the whole family will love! It is kid approved and comes highly recommended. Let us know which idea is your favorite!
You can also find more resources on Familystrongproject.com
If you think this would be helpful for someone you know, would you please share this with them? Help us help others to put their devices down and "Spend time with things that love them back."
Let us know in the comments how many times a day you hear “I’m Bored.” 🤣Link to the full article by Dr. Heshmat here.