Adults often dream of sitting on a beach and doing absolutely nothing. Yet somehow, parents of preschoolers tell us at Kids Konnect they feel guilty when their little ones are bored. We say embrace the boredom! Boredom in our modern society has many benefits.
A recent report at Greatist indicates that boredom has many research-supported advantages:
- Boredom can lead to great creativity
- Boredom encourages construction of new goals
- A balanced diet of intensity and boredom can provide a healthy mental and physical state
Let your preschooler enjoy boredom in small doses.
At Kids Konnect we sometimes see the unfortunate effects of over-scheduling children. The child who waits for an adult to provide any kind of stimulus — play, make-believe, organized sports, open-ended games — lacks original thinking.
Boredom, says an expert through the BBC, stimulates imagination:
"...Children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them."
Educators, including preschool teachers at Kids Konnect, consider two types of motivation in children:
- Extrinsic — Rewards and attention brought to the child from outside, such as stickers, ribbons, food treats and the like
- Intrinsic — Coming from within, a thirst for discovery that springs from inside the child
Children who are constantly rewarded extrinsically will never develop the self-motivation needed to persevere, says Dr. Michael Ungar, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. Says Dr. Ungar, “A motivated child is one who is raised to seek new experiences, not one who is endlessly protected from boredom.”
When you answer your preschooler who whines, “I’m bored,” by immediately stopping your work and proffering a new activity, you take away the child’s opportunity to problem-solve, adapt, and self-motivate.
How to Answer the Whine
Many educators have learned to answer the “I’m bored,” complaint with a bit of simple psychology:
- “Great! What are you going to do about it?”
- “Would you like to help me pay these bills, empty the trash cans, or scrub the toilets? Those are all things that keep me from being bored today!”
Avoid sarcasm, and consider turning boredom into a game:
- “I wonder if I could be as bored as you are. Give me half an hour and then we’ll have a contest!”
How have you not only tolerated boredom in your preschooler but encouraged it? Comment below and share your ideas and thoughts with Kids Connect.