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It’s pretty normal these days to keep your kids busy. After all, you want them to enjoy childhood.
You certainly don’t want your kids to be bored and to look back on their youth and think about how they just never did anything.
But there’s another side to that story that has to be considered.
Down time is essential for creativity. It also teaches kids how to entertain themselves instead of constantly needing outside stimuli, and that’s an essential life skill.
When I was a kid I remember complaining about being bored and my grandmother looking at me sadly saying, “Only boring people are bored. How sad.”
I remember how insulted I felt, and how I ran off to read a book, pick flowers, and later that day learned asked if I could learn how to cook pork chops and make cucumber tomato salad.
All it took was some downtime with no one telling me what to do.
Boredom Helps Establish Identity
This is one of those less tangible benefits, but it deserves a place at the top of the list because you want your kids to know who they are.
Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves…Children need to sit in the nothingness of boredom in order to arrive at an understanding of who they are. And just as important, children need to sit in the nothingness of boredom to awaken their own internal drive to be.Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Boredom helps your child mature into the adult you are raising them to become.
It’s where they learn what they want to do, what they are good at, and what they want to learn. It’s where they discover how to have spontaneous and creative fun away from screens and stimuli. Boredom is where the magic comes to life.
Boredom Encourages Creativity
Boredom is good for kids because it encourages creativity. When your kids are bored, encourage them to think of something to do.
But resist the urge to give them ideas. It’s up to them to come up with something.
This is when kids come up with the best games to play. Kids will often take things they already own and use them in different ways to make them fun again.
They might make up new rules for a board game or find a different way to rebuild a Lego set. They may turn their bedroom and stuffed animals into a safari. Or they may write a book.
Give them time to work it out on their own. If you’re always coming to the rescue, your kids will never learn to rely on their own creativity.
Boredom Motivates Kids
It may sound strange, but boredom actually motivates kids. Kids need to learn this skill. Let boredom motivate them to use what they have around them.
While your kids may be used to having you schedule activities and give them ideas on what to do, it’s time to let them try their hand at it.
And chances are your kids already have lots to do. There are books to read, games to play, things to do outside, and so many adventures to have. Your children will eventually get up and do something.
Boredom Gets Your Kids Thinking
It’s also good for kids to learn to think for themselves. Today’s kids are often told what to do from the time they get up to the time they go to bed.
Having your entire day planned out for you means you don’t have to think about much of anything. That’s not what you want for your kids.
Let the weekends, at least one day, be a day where they fend for themselves when it comes to being entertained. Your kids will have to think of ways to stay entertained or be bored.
Boredom Helps with Problem Solving Skills
Your kids need to learn how to solve problems for themselves. Problem solving is an essential life skill and boredom is a great opportunity to learn it.
Boredom is good for kids because they will use these skills to find things to do.
For example, let’s say your kids are bored because the internet is down. Your kids will use their problem-solving skills to come up with things to do until the connection is restored. And, if you happen to have switched the modem off and caused the outage, no one needs to be the wiser.
Boredom Teaches Kids to Entertain Themselves
It’s tempting to have a list of activities for your kids.
After all, parents don’t enjoy hearing about their kids being bored. You feel bad because you want the best for them. And, if we’re being totally honest, it gets rather annoying after a while, too.
However, kids need to learn to entertain themselves. You’re not going to follow them around as an adult and offer suggestions to them…and the whole point of raising your kids is to prepare them for adulthood.
Now’s the time for them to learn to look for things to do and occasional boredom will only help.
Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy. If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.Lyn Fry
Boredom Allows for Meditation
Last, but not least, boredom is good for kids because it lets them think about things. Just lying outside looking up at the clouds and deciding what the clouds look like is good for the mind.
Pondering things is good for everyone (even moms!). Boredom can give your kids the time needed to just think.
Children Set New Goals When They’re Bored
Yup, scientists have proven that boredom encourages people (not just kids!) to set new goals (source). Many times you get bored when you’ve finished a project or reached a goal, have having the downtime of boredom will get your brain spinning and setting new goals.
For a child that can mean a new idea for an awesome tree fort or blanket hut or perhaps a way to earn some extra job by working for the neighbors. If they never have time to stop doing, they never have time to start dreaming.
Don’t Be Afraid To Allow Boredom
So don’t be afraid to allow your kids to be bored. It will inspire them, motivate them, and help them figure out who they are…eventually.
If they’re used to you constantly entertaining them or handing them a device to keep them busy, the process of being bored and finding a way out of it may take time.
But it’s a beautiful journey that leads to amazing places, so don’t be afraid to start it.