How many times did you hear your child cry out “I’m bored “?. You were so tempted to give them your phone or a tablet to keep them busy. Because you just wanted to carry on with your chores. We all did it without thinking, that by doing so we are hindering their creative skills from emerging. We are preventing their imagination from growing and evolving. We are becoming less and less creative, because we are caught in the trap of being constantly stimulated. And what’s worrying is that we are passing these habits on to our children.
So I plead for you to let boredom settle in your household or during that long 30 minutes’ drive to granny’s house. While on the car, don’t be tempted to switch on that Peppa Pig episode you have saved for the car journeys. Set a time of the day where no screens are allowed at home. But instead, let your children learn to occupy themselves by fishing out that box of Lego from under their bed. Leave some glue, scrap paper, scissors and a colourful catalogue on a table. You will be amazed at what they can make. Resist to put the TV on so you can clean the house in peace. Instead encourage your children to build you a rocket out of milk cartons, count how many trees can they see from the window, how many red cars can they spot on your car journey.
It’s not going to be easy to start with. But over time you will notice that your children are more communicative, more inquisitive, more creative and less bored.
What to do?
We should welcome a child’s complaints of boredom rather than try to solve it. By keeping them occupied every ticking second we are making them think less and do less. Studies that have tested how tablets benefit learning only test screen skills and two-dimensional thinking. We need to develop creativity and imagination in our children. If they can only imagine what we give them, then they are bound to the limits of our imagination. We should give our children the opportunity to let their minds wander. To tinker with ideas. To test out their limits and to find that magic creation that comes from having nothing to do.