Parenting and the Beauty of Boredom

August 4, 2010 Theresa Fung

The two words a parent dreads to hear each summer from the lips of their child is: “I’m bored.” After the novelty of summer has worn off and the swimming pool has lost its appeal, boredom has a way of settling into your home like an unwelcome house guest.

Some parents try to keep boredom at bay by scheduling and filling every single block of time with a variety of play dates, day camps, and music lessons. While a bit of structure is a good thing, I wonder what ever happened to the long, lazy summer days of childhoods past.

PlayingInTheGarden - The Unlocked LifeMost adult lives are filled with necessary and an often mundane series of errands, obligations, and chores. How I would love to have the luxury of boredom! I miss the simple things that boredom affords like sitting outside, soaking in the sun, and daydreaming. I remember the summers when I was a kid—how the days would seem to go on forever. Now when dinner time rolls around, I wonder how the day flew by so quickly.

Of course it gets annoying when you hear, “I’m bored” every two seconds. A quick cure to that is to reply, “If you’re that bored, then you can help me with my chores.” That usually acts as a good kid-repellant for a little while.

Constructive Boredom

When I’m referring to the beauty of boredom, I don’t mean the mind-numbing-video-game-playing-TV-watching variety, but rather a more constructive version. The good kind of boredom occurs when your child has some free time to do something (or perhaps a little bit of nothing) of his own initiative.

So how exactly do you encourage this kind of good boredom?

  • Fill your house with books and magazines that interest your child and go on trips to the library.
  • Create a “boredom box” and fill it with paper, markers, glue, scissors, and other odds and ends to promote creativity when your child utters the two dreaded words.
  • Encourage lots of outdoor play.
  • Suggest to your child that he work towards completing a project of his own initiative within a certain timeframe such as building a birdhouse, re-decorating his bedroom, or creating a comic book.

The beauty of boredom is that it allows your child to be his own boss for a little while instead of being shuttled back and forth between a series of activities that he probably has little input in. A bit of good boredom can help your child develop creativity and explore different interests.

So the next time you feel sick and tired of planning activities for your kid, sit back, relax and see what a little boredom can do for your child.

APA Reference
Fung, T. (2010, August 4). Parenting and the Beauty of Boredom, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Theresa Fung

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