We’ve all heard it, we’ve even uttered the words ourselves at some point in our lives. The dreaded words “I’m bored.” Our eldest is nearly four and she’s said it on a number of occasions. Conducted by BIC® as part of its Young Artist Award, a study found that kids complain about being bored on average 122 times a month, that’s 1,500 times a year with the words “I’m bored” being dreaded by 69% of parents.
My first question is; what’s the first thing you do when you hear your child say these words? If you’re like me they’ll say it at the most inappropriate time, probably when you’re right in the middle of something. I know what you’ll do. You’ll do what 31% of parents admitted to doing, you give your bored child a digital device to keep them occupied. I know because I’m just as guilty for it and every time I do my #DadGuilt goes into over drive.
My second question and probably one you haven’t thought about; Is your child being bored a bad thing? Stay with me. It makes me sound like a terrible parent for thinking something like that but in response to the study conducted by BIC® expert Dr Martin Stephen suggests that boredom is good for creativity in children, and it kind of makes sense.
The meaning behind this statement suggests that giving your child a digital device is a detraction that will hinder their creativity and only service as a small rest bite for us so we can complete a task or get to the the bottom of a coffee cup without it going cold. With the summer at an end and the colder winter nights drawing in, kids are only spending an average of three hour away from a screen, which doesn’t sound good on the face of it and parents are keen to see kids move away from digital distractions.
Let me just clear one thing up, I am not anti screen time! In fact, I am very much pro it. I believe that we should encourage our kids to embrace screen time as it can also serve as a time to relax, unwind and watch their favourite TV show or play their favourite game, which even as adults w’re entitled to do. But what they see and do on a screen can definitely encourage creativity but all too often it’s the creativity and imagination of the designer, not theirs.
For me, it’s all about getting a good balance. Sure I let my girls watch YouTube or whatever their favourite show might be this week but we also encourage them to take part in old-fashion ideas like providing them with pens, paints and paper so they can draw, paint and write. It’s something that both of them love to do and even when I ask Olivia what she’s done at nursery it’s always drawing and painting. I know this to be true because the evidence is all over the clothes.
Drawing and writing with a pen aren’t old fashioned and out-dated, in fact for me, it’s important that my kids still develop the basic skill of drawing and writing. All to often I hear about kids starting their first year of school not being able to hold a pen, which is sad.
It doesn’t even have to be drawing and writing, it be encouraging them to play with their toys, allowing their imaginations to come alive. I often just sit and watch them play and listen to the stories they make it up. It can also provide a window into their world.
It’s hard to think of boredom as a good thing but I think we’re all aware that taking a bit of time away from the constant noise and activity of screens has a positive effect. It’s good to be able to let their mind wander and their imagination run wild.
What do you think? Is your kids being bored a good thing? Do you agree with some of the things I’ve said? Let me know in the comments below.
*This was a collaborative post*