In a world that is saturated with technology and immediate gratification, it is no surprise that we are raising children who need to be kept occupied every minute of every day. Long gone are the days where children used their imaginations to keep themselves busy while parents worked, rested or tended to household duties. Instead, we pack countless toys and other gadgets everywhere we go, surrender our phones to our children while waiting in lines just to stop the constant stream of whining and complaining and panic if we have to wait at a restaurant or at a bus stop for fear that we might be faced with a tantrum or a meltdown.
Child Bored? 4 Boredom Busting Tips
Here are 4 tips to help fight the “I’m bored!” merry-go-round:
1. Don’t immediately react by providing your child with a device
Rather than rewarding the complaining with a device or toy of some sort, empathise with your child by saying, “I know it’s no fun when you’re bored. Sometimes I get bored too! But I’m sure you can come up with something to solve the problem.”
This puts the responsibility back on the child to find something to do. If your child continues to complain about being bored, suggest some “quiet time” where the child can lay on a bed or sit in a room reading by himself. Most children will choose to find another option.
2. Plan ahead
Sit down with your child during a period when she is not feeling bored and ask her to come up with a list of things she really likes to do. For example, she may come up with colouring, playing with a certain toy, taking the dog for a walk around the block, etc. Child bored? No problem! When she comes to you and states that she is bored, pull out the list and let her choose one of the previously discussed activities.
3. Give tasks that will help your child feel important and helpful
Most parents know that giving chores to a small child to complete can sometimes turn into more work for the parent. However, it’s important for your child to feel like he is helping out around the house sometimes. This will also keep him occupied while you are trying to complete your own household duties. Come up with a list of jobs that don’t require a lot of supervision, such as wiping down baseboards or watering plants.
4. Stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and have a conversation
Many times, when a child is complaining about being bored, what she is really saying is she wants attention. Sometimes just stopping what you are doing and having a ten minute conversation will fill her love tank enough so that she moves on to another activity. Make sure you are fully present and focused on your child, without being distracted by your phone or computer. They’ll pick up on it and wont feel like they’ve really had your attention.
Most young children are easily distracted, so after five minutes or so, she will probably have an idea of something else she wants to do… and you will be able to get back to the task at hand!
How do you guide your children when they’re board? What works for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.