Give Your Child the Gift of Boredom and DowntimeDebbie Slaughter |
Summer is just around the corner and moms everywhere are quietly starting to panic at the thought of keeping their kids busy for 2 months.
Phone calls are being made to secure spots in various activities. Summer camps are on the horizon and yet, what will the kids do with their few days at home with nothing on the agenda?
Well, here’s a suggestion…let them be bored.
Yep. Boredom…it’s something that kids these days don’t have the privilege of experiencing.
Think about how kids are raised now compared to previous generations.
For many years now, kids have had schedules that would shame a CEO. Their agendas and calendars are packed so tightly, that it’s no wonder mental health is such a hot topic these days; yes, even for children.
Stress and anxiety affect adults when we feel overwhelmed with tasks, bogged down with endless responsibilities and have zero margin in our days or weeks. So why do we assume that it’s ok to put this same stress on our children?
After 9 months of being spoon fed schedules, rules, information and activities, wouldn’t you want to have the freedom to think for yourself?
Wouldn’t you want to have margin in your day to play, create, ride your bike, build something, invent something or simply go for a swim?
One of the greatest things you can plan for your kids this summer is time to be bored.
Boredom starts ideas.
Boredom reads a book.
Boredom invents something.
Boredom calls them outside.
With the right parameters in place, of course, it’s ok for your kids to have the downtime to be creative, read, play, learn something new or just sit outside and talk with friends.
Every household will look different, depending on ages and whether an adult is present or not, but even if your child is at home with a babysitter, it’s not necessary for them to have their every moment dictated by an outside activity.
Let them have responsibilities, such as certain chores you expect of them in the summer. That’s building good adults!
Tell them what the boundaries are, as far as TV, how far they can go, times to return, etc. These things build life skills and responsibility. But within those frames, allow them to create their own day, with things that feed their soul.
One of the most helpful things to keep in mind with our children, is that they are just little versions of human beings. That might sound ridiculous, but it helps to remember that they have all the same feelings we have, but not always the capacity to voice what they are feeling.
Do you enjoy being dragged from one place to another; always eating your lunch in the car?
Do you wish sometimes that you could just stay home and enjoy some time alone to work on a craft, read, visit with a friend or actually play with your toys?
We need to remember how we feel when our schedule is so crammed full, that we can’t think straight.
This is how the last few generations of kids have grown up – never having margin, eating on the go, packed schedule and more stress than a child should ever have.
I see adults these days craving simplicity, gardens, and some of the old fashioned ways once again.
Shouldn’t we give the same gift to our kids and allow them to grow up with more simplicity in their lives as well?
It’s certainly worth thinking about.
And, hey, you never know who you’re raising! By giving kids time to experience downtime and boredom, they may surprise you with their ingenuity, creativity and skills. But, without that margin, you might be squelching the genius inside of them.
Until next time….