Healthy Families

Family Focus: “Mom, I’m Bored”

Family Focus: “Mom, I’m Bored”

 

It's not even summer vacation yet and some kids are "bored".  How can kids these days be bored?  I really can't remember the last time, as a Mom, I've felt bored.  Oh, believe me, there are times when I was doing a task that I really didn't want to do and thought this is boring.  But, with everything available today, how can anyone be bored?   

 

Children have more toys to distract them than ever before - toys that are super sophisticated. Maybe they are bored because they are over- rather than under-stimulated. With choice comes restlessness, a nagging feeling that there might be something better to play with, or something on television they are missing. But when most kids turn the television on, they channel surf between the hundreds of channels available.

Some kids are unable to hold their own attention. The more stimulation and choices children have, the less patient they have become, and the less capable of concentration. How can a word search, puzzle, or coloring book compete with a multi-colored video game that moves so fast I can't keep up with it? Or sitting and reading a book when cellular phones and portable media players are so much more stimulating.

While having 'nothing to do' as an adult is welcome, the same is not necessarily true of children. Being bored is a integral part of childhood; children are forced to daydream, stand and stare, and use their imaginations. If your child is complaining of being bored, the best thing to do is leave him or her alone in a room. Children need to learn how to organize their own time. It is an important skill in adult life.

Sometimes boredom carries many different meanings - just like a baby crying. When a baby cries for no apparent reason, parents will look to see what that cry means. Older kids have the same needs, and the expression of that need might come through as whining, irritability, or a claim of boredom.

Some children who complain of boredom really just want attention. Just being in the same room with you is not enough; they need your focused attention. This is where doing things like playing a game, going for a walk, or just talking. Just participating in a task together with mom or dad will satisfy many young children--even folding laundry together or any other household task.

 

Try to be conscious about not scheduling kids too much during breaks. Let them have the freedom to read or draw or create play as they feel it, both indoors and out, activities that don't include a computer screen or buttons. The school year is scheduled enough with the actual school day, homework, and other extra curricular activities. Time off is time for relaxing and exploring. Just try to make sure your child is doing it without an electronic device in front of them.


Boredom should not be something to dread, it is a natural part of growing up. Once parents understand the meaning behind the words "I'm bored," they'll know what to do..

-Carol Boughner