I was happy when my cat snuggled on my lap and sad when I left my grandparents’ house. I was excited when I went with mum to pick up my older siblings from school and scared when I went into a dark room.
And on more than one occasion I remember being bored.
Bored with my toys. Bored with my bike. Bored with my brother and sisters.
Sometimes I was BORED all day.
And I never once blamed my parents.
How times have changed. I now I spend the bulk of my day entertaining my children and, if I am really lucky, their friends.
I know I am not alone.
A friend recently advised: “I was in the kitchen making dinner while simultaneously helping my 4-year old add glitter to her drawing for dad’s imminent arrival when my 2-year old shouted over from the comfort of the couch – propped on a pillow, munching on crackers and juice while watching the latest offerings from ABC 4 Kids – ‘Mummy, I’m bored. Can I have my iPad …’ and when I explained she didn’t need an electronics fix – she looked at me as if I had two heads and had failed her.”
And isn’t that the worrying thing? Many of us feel like we’ve failed our little ones if they are bored.
Boredom is a necessary part of childhood.
I did some amazing things spurred on by my boredom and discovered so many new and interesting games, locations and hidey-holes.
Reframing boredom for my children is one of my biggest challenges – teaching them to solve things for themselves is a wonderful life skill but I urge all adults to stay away from the negative and isolating responses like “You’re not bored, your boring” which can hurt a little one’s ability to forge ahead and explore new things long after you’ve forgotten the conversation.
So be brave – next time your kids are bored, put away the electronics and the plastic fantastic toys and challenge them to use their imagination and come up something you can do together.
I still love cloud watching with my kids and play “I spy with my imaginary eye’ (which is great for the under 4s who don’t quite grasp the original concept – you’ll soon get to know that ‘a’ for unicorn is quite common in most households).
And if that ‘bored’ word comes up at playgroup this week – here are some fun things to try that will encourage new sensations and take them in a fresh direction.
And if you need some more inspiration for playgroup or at home – check out or online Play Ideas now.
Kath is a 40-year-old mum of three who works part time and enjoys catching up with other stressed-out mums in her spare time. Usually she’s racing against the clock to make her boys (+ husband) arrive anywhere on time and feels quite the talented mother when two of the three kids make it out of the house with shoes on!