by Amanda K.
Today, parents are doing everything in their power to ensure their children are preoccupied at all times. Children are being introduced to technology such as television and electronic devices at a young age in effort to keep them busy. As a result, children are never bored and they experience negative consequences because of it. I read an article that discussed the difference between children who are constantly being entertained versus children who experience boredom. It was concluded that children who are given free time and experience boredom, had more imagination skills and were better at problem solving. Occupying every ounce of children’s free time creates little robots and reduces their imagination capacities. This is concerning because imagination has a large impact on the development of personality and problem solving abilities. I am not implying that parents should allow their children to sit in boredom all day, but simply encouraging parents to allow their children to use their imagination instead of technology.
To me, I have never seen being bored as a negative thing, but I have friends who hate the idea of not having anything to do. Growing up, I would spend the entire day alone in my room playing “house” with my Barbies or stuffed animals. I didn’t need anyone to accompany me because I had ability to imagine my stuffed animals coming to life. I believe this is why I have developed into an introvert. I have always had the ability to entertain myself with the simplest objects even if they were fabricated in my own mind. Without sounding like I was some freak on the playground who imagined things, I had a creative talent that allowed me to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems. As I got older, unfortunately, I became too old to play house alone in my room. Instead, when me and my friends were bored, we would make up games in my backyard or pool. I remember playing “lifeguard” in the pool with my brother. One of us would be the lifeguard while the other was “drowning” and needed to be saved. We could spend hours in the pool playing out different situations like this.
Parents should never feel guilty when they see their children being bored. They should instead promote this behavior and simply provide their children with tools to deal with it. Parents need to provide children with the space and the proper materials that challenge them to amuse themselves. In some instances, this could simply mean giving children a cardboard box. It is amazing what a child can do with a cardboard box and imagination. They could be happily occupied for hours. If children run out of ideas, parents can give children a challenge that prompts more “creative role play”. For example, helping them cut holes in the box or giving them markers to decorate it to create something entirely new.
Not only is this a good lesson for children, but also for adults. We occupy a lot of our free time using technology and rarely enjoy being bored. Who says we’re too old to actively use our imagination for good? Who says were too old to play lifeguard in the pool?
Being bored is good for children – and adults. This is why. Teresa Belton, World Economic Forum. (2016, September 26).