Parents generally dread the whine of children saying they’re bored. So, why was I looking forward to it? Discover the 7 reasons why I want my children to get bored during lockdown.
We are currently chartering the unknown territory of a national lockdown, where we have abandoned all normal social activities, in favour of staying at home. No more school, no more extra-curricular activities or play dates. So, what does this mean for the children? Are they all going to get very bored? I hope so.
Read on to discover the 7 reasons why I want my children to get bored during lockdown…
Reason 1: Time to play
For many, the go-to activity for bored children is television, the unpaid babysitter of the 21st Century. The easiest option for parents is to agree to it. However, before long, you realise they have been sat in front of a screen, albeit quite happily, for hours. It is far tougher to say no, but try it and reap the benefits.
With time to be bored, my children started re-discovering forgotten toys and engaging themselves in games they hadn’t played for ages. They dusted off board games, and charged up the remote control car. Lego was soon everywhere, but the creations got bigger, better and more technical.
Reason 2: Time to be creative
In normal times, most school-age children have very little unscheduled time. However, lockdown has given children unprecedented hours of unstructured time. One of the main reasons I want the children to get bored is so they redevelop an interest in creative activities.
After the initial boredom phase, my kids started doodling and painting. As time set in, this extended into full-page cartoon strips and mini art projects. Eventually, even re-designing the inside of a very large cardboard box became fun.
Reason 3: Time to get outdoors
Outdoor time, whether on a walk in the woods behind our house or in the garden is now the highlight of the day.
Being outdoors has also given them opportunities to connect more with nature. With the luxury of time on their hands, they are noticing the small things, taking pleasure in the mini bugs, birds and wildlife.
The children even helped with gardening, though not for long, as they soon remembered some very important den-building.
Boredom has driven them to rediscover long-forgotten outdoor toys and the garden is once again an adventure zone. Yesterday, they went on their first camping trip. Sausages for tea and then a huddle up in the tent to keep warm.
It’s all been great for their physical and mental wellbeing.
Reason 4: Time to help
Boredom has led to a desire to help in the kitchen. For the most part, this involves baking cakes. It’s no wonder that the home baking aisles of the supermarkets are empty, and flour has become a rare commodity.
Reason 5: Time to be friends
Self-isolation has also led to a gradual, increased camaraderie between the children. Of course, this is not some utopia without sibling fallouts, but a slow dawning that this is their only hope for playing with another child.
Reason 6: Time to ditch the screens
Of course, technology still has an important role in our modern world, but let its purpose be to boost creativity, not restrict it Let the kids use the stop motion studios app to film their Lego models in action, on-line art tutorials to inspire or visit Google Earth to take a virtual tour around the world.
Alternatively, welcome technology at the end of the day, when kids are exhausted from a day full of imagination and discovery.
Reason 7: Time to entertain themselves
A taste of boredom has led our time-rich children to make their own entertainment. Living in an age where technology provides instant gratification, children don’t always have time to let their imaginations run wild and develop their own ideas.
Unstructured time is essential for enabling this and allowing our children to discover their passions in life. A break from their micro-managed daily routines is great for developing their emotional and mental health.
It is not a parent’s role to be a full-time entertainer.
We live in an age where helicopter parenting is the norm and being busy is synonymous with success. Parents fill their children’s days from start to end with scheduled activities.
However, when does this leave our children time to explore?, time to discover? and time to daydream? When will children use their imaginations? And how will kids learn to manage their own time? Having time to get bored has given my children time for all of the above.
Of course, there will still be moments of boredom. And as I write, my house is a mess. Cupboards are turned out, there’s Lego everywhere and the constant arrival of fresh cakes is playing havoc with my waistline.
However, no-one is coming around for the foreseeable future and there’s no holiday to get beach ready for. So, for the meantime, if the kids are happy, so am I.
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