DETROIT – They’re the words that can drive parents crazy: “I’m bored.” But believe it or not, experts said a little boredom can be good for children.
If your children don’t have something to do, does that mean they are either fighting, whining or destroying something? But with children home 24/7, boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The first two weeks were whining every single day,” Jeeyoung, a mother of three, said. “An hour into the day, ‘I’m so bored.‘”
Jeeyoung is a Metro Detroit mother of three young boys. She said when the stopped coming up with ways to try to entertain them, the whining also stopped.
“I got to a point where I’ve literally had to ignore them,” she said. “I want to encourage parents to be OK with letting them figure it out. They really do, and it’s not me bragging. It’s not bragging about kids, like literally when they’re constantly fed activity after activity. I feel like that creates this sense of mom’s or dad’s need to constantly be entertaining them.”
Dr. Donna Rockwell, a clinical psychologist, agrees. She said a little boredom can go a long way.
“We need to understand that this is a time where all of us can learn how to be the best team possible, where we can learn how to care for one another and ourselves,” Rockwell said. “We’re really doing our children a disservice by doing everything for them and expecting that we should be doing that.”
Rockwell said parents notice it helps to build independence and sparks creativity.
“My 7-year-old came up with, ‘Let’s make a treasure map,‘” Jeeyoung said. “They all grab printer pieces of paper, made a mess of my office in the process, but, you know, sat down, drew up maps and then after they had lunch, they went through the house, destroyed the house, but it was an activity they came up with.”
“If they do know how to take care of themselves, they have a higher self-esteem because they know they can do it,” Rockwell said. “They know they can make it through anything. That’s the most important thing for a child to learn before they leave the home.”
“When I say ignore my kids, obviously it’s just -- I make sure that they’re safe and they’re fed and all of that stuff,” Jeeyoung said. “But I think we can and we should give our kids more credit that they’re able to find their ways of exploring ideas and activities that they come up with.”