How To Respond To Boredom In Your Child

We all feel boredom at some point in our lives. In some ways it’s a good thing as it helps us to appreciate the good moments in life. However, very bright children are more prone to feeling bored because they are hungry for intellectual stimulation.  This restlessness can be exhausting for parents of children who are always seeking intellectual stimulation and fresh experiences. Building in challenge is one way of banishing boredom. However, this does not necessarily mean ‘doing’ more of something. Instead, it can be a feeling of having your interest peaked by being inspired by someone or something, which in turn leads to creativity and feelings of personal satisfaction.

When approaching boredom in your child it is useful to first tune into your child’s interests. Listen and discover what makes them tick.  Be aware that this might not be what makes you tick, you can still encourage whatever interest they may have at a particular point in their life.

STRENGTHEN INTERESTS

If your child loves reading, a visit to a bookshop to pick and choose a new genre of book may ignite curiosity and squash any signs of boredom. If your child has a musical ear you may wish to gently encourage your child to choose a musical instrument to play and ask if they’d like to perform a mini concert for family or friends. They don’t have to be amazing at performing but just trying their best and showcasing what they’ve learned will leave your child feeling so proud and satisfied. Leaving our comfort zone is always a good way to stimulate creativity.

CONNECT

Sometimes it is the simple things that can satisfy a curious child. Such as making new friendships over a shared interest. Sparking new friendships and indulging in a hobby can bring a renewed sense of meaning and purpose to activities, as well as the freedom to play, talk and create, all of which children love! Children spark off each other whether that’s with one other or in a group.

RECHARGE OUTDOORS

Enduring several lockdowns has led many more of us to appreciate the simple joys of being out in nature. Whether that’s walking, exploring woods, playing outdoors or even learning to grow stuff. From my experience of growing cress in egg shells, a standard part of primary school science lessons, children love growing things. It’s healthy, calming and satisfying, when it works! Plants and veggies also demand your attention and won’t accept boredom as an excuse to ignore them! So it is a great pastime for children to lose themelves in.

FINDING THEIR VOICE:

When children explore a new interest which really suits them they will enjoy expressing themselves in a that particular environment, where they feel heard and valued. Their passion may not be what you’d choose but if it’s something they seem to love, where they can thrive, it is absolutely worth doing for your child’s fulfilment and sense of wellbeing.

Helping your child develop a passion can take time, but it’s a fasinating journey when something that has peaked your child’s interest keeps driving them forward in satisfying ways. When children feel comfortable voicing their thoughts and ideas they are building their sense of self, adding to their layers of identity.

LIFE IS MESSY

Naturally, life is messy…so sometimes, no matter what you suggest your child will complain of feeling bored. It’s not always about giving your child another activity to do but more to do with letting your child know that ‘boredom’ is a normal feeling and allowing them the time and space to deal with it for themselves will help your child build emotional resilience and inner resources (a part of their toolkit for life).

There are times when children feel overtired, restless and unable to decide what to do with themselves. In scenarios like this, simply riding it out is the only thing to do…Whether that’s slumbing it on the sofa, having a snooze or gorging on too many snacks!

Try not to get frustrated. Simply acknowledging that a little boredom is a normal emotion, your child will learn to appreciate more of life in the long-run. They'll also learn that the feeling will pass. Try to treasure the times your child feels content and happy. As with all things in life, these moments will pass too, so learning to go with the flow helps a lot. 

Posted on July 2nd 2021

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