Boredom In A Child
Boredom Is Boring
Child boredom and growing up seem to go together. Whether we like it or not, at some point a child can’t make up their mind and becomes bored. The boredom is partly because we are raising our children to accept things on demand. The current generation of children are learning the word, “instantaneous” and “on demand” through technology and screens. As Dr. Laura Markhan explains (Why Boredom Is Good For Your Child) , the interaction between screens (Ipads, video games systems, cell phones etc.) produces a tiny amount of “dopamine” that releases as we interact with the devices. It gives us a pleasurable sensation and makes other things we do seem not as enjoyable
As a social worker and parent, I know that boredom doesn’t necessarily mean that my child’s bored. When a child starts saying, “I’m bored” it could be as simple as they want our attention. They want to know that you are there for them and acknowledge that they matter. If a child sees you watching television or playing on the phone all the time they could think that those things mean more to us than they do.
Structure for a child is vitally important but so is free time. A child learns many things such as creativity and social skills from unstructured time. Parents have to try to learn the correct balance between structured and unstructured times. We are the ones that can help motivate our children to learn to deal with boredom.
Xander now is going through the stage, “Something else.” I have tried to find ways to help with boredom. Being that he is only three-years-old I often give him choices of what to do after discovering he needs guidance.
Xan: Dada, I need something else! (sighs heavily….tapping foot on floor)
Me: What would you like to do Xan? (giving him a chance to solve the problem himself)
Xan: I don’t know! I bored! (He emphasized the word “know”)
Me: Alright Xan, would you like to play with cars, color or I can read a story? (making him decide what he wants to do)
Xan: I want to color! (said with conviction)
Me: Okay. (Xan and I get the crayons and coloring books and place them all in the floor)
Xan: Dada, color with me? Please? (how can I deny the word please?)
A few minutes pass with me coloring and Xan watching. I have asked him different color of things and tried to get him engaged in the activity.
Me: Xan, are you going to color or are you just watching me color? (Wondering if I have sucker written on my forehead? He thinks I don’t know he’s not coloring)
Xan: Dada, do it! I watch! I need something else! (Smiling while he says it)
Child boredom is a hard thing for a parent to deal with. Parents have to learn to engage but be disciplined enough to know when their child is already engaged. I found that coloring wasn’t the right way to get Xander motivated against boredom. We played hide-and-seek instead. Sometimes fatherhood is all about being willing to get up and play too.
1 point Xander for learning the words, “Something Else”, 1 point dada for trying to engage Xander’s imagination, 0 points for a child’s being bored because it’s never an easy lesson to learn.
Be sure to check out Talking About Infertility Isn’t Easy that I wrote for Like A Bump On A Blog!!
, correct balance
, free time
, time parents
, watching television