There are only a small amount of things in the world that are more annoying and frustrating than a child whining “I’m bored!” to their parents. Maybe it’s annoying because you have a very expensive and large backyard with a playground or a huge pile of toys that they could play with; sometimes there are other reasons for why it is so annoying. On the other hand it could just be that they don’t have the problem solving skills to entertain themselves.
No parent or care giver wants a child to be bored for hours on end because that means they will be whining for hours on end as well. So it can be difficult to know how to handle the situation correctly especially if you are annoyed or frustrated. To help care givers and parents alike we spoke with countless professionals and teachers to understand the inner mechanisms of a child’s brain and what the best methods are to cure boredom in children.
Firstly understand that being bored may be a good thing
It may sound counter-intuitive at first but being bored may be a good thing for children rather than a negative one. Many experts agree that today’s children are over stimulated with their lives being planned down to every minute. Boredom is an essential factor for kids to develop their creativity and to help them grow mentally.
When a child is bored that need to understand that they need to develop their own fun and entertainment. They need to go out and explore their world and learn new things for themselves without the help of mummy or daddy. This then leads them to look at themselves internally to understand what their interests and passion is. Understanding a child’s interests at a young age is a great opportunity to be able to connect with them on another deeper level.
Consider why they’re bored
Sometimes it can be a bit bewildering as to why exactly children are complaining of boredom, don’t they have a million toys to play with after all? Didn’t you just get home from a busy day of activities?
If they’re saying the bored, it’s important to think about the reason why as it indicates your child hasn’t learnt the important skill of occupying themselves yet. The way that children play has changed a lot in recent times, children are no longer generally permitted to stay outside with the neighbourhood kids until the sun goes down and technology is now an important factor in their lives.
You also have to understand that when a child says that they are bored it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have run out of things to do rather that they don’t find the things presented to them stimulating or interesting. This could also be a cry for adult attention but can also be a great opportunity to nurture some new and important skills. Try suggesting reading a book together or do some drawing/painting. Fostering and nurturing your child’s interests from a young age will make them develop faster and more effectively to the point where they will be very proficient at it by the time they hit their teen years.
Children at young ages are very impressionable as well so it is important to let them discover their own interests rather than forcing the activities you want them to do on them. They will only resent you for it later as they have many memories of you pushing an activity that they don’t necessarily like.
Create a jar of boredom busters
The idea behind this strategy is to put an end to the boredom game before it even starts. The boredom jar features a list of many different activities that your child would like to do where they have to utilise their own problem solving skills to find out what they want to do themselves. Here is a list of 5 activities to get you started.
Play a sport outside
A simple and effective idea is to play a sport outside. It could be soccer, football, basketball or even cricket. If they are outside having fun with friends you won’t have to deal with that high pitched whine anymore!
Go for a bike ride
Riding the bike up and down the drive way or around the neighbourhood if they’re a bit older is a great boredom killer. Older kids may also run into their friends doing the same which could lead to hours of fun outside together.
Make a fort
Kids of all ages love making forts and cubby houses and is a great idea all year round. In winter months you can build pillow forts to help keep you warm while the summer months are great opportunities for tree houses and cubby houses outside.
Creating a list of items that someone needs to go around and collect is a great idea to keep children entertained for extended periods of time. If you make the list up yourself you get the chance to dictate how long the game goes for depending on how difficult the items are to find.
If your child loves to express themselves through dance then this is a great way to tire them out and cure their boredom. Create a playlist of theirs or your favourite songs and have them bopping away to it. By the time the songs are over they will be exhausted!
Some children are more creatively inclined than others and may want to participate in different activities. Here are some boredom busters for the creative little ones:
Clay or Play-Doh art shows
A great activity for kids of all ages is to get them to make their own art show with their own work. The little kids can use Play-Doh while the older ones can use clay. This allows them to access that creative side of them and create something purely from their imagination.
Put on a play
Putting on a play is another great activity for children to express their creative side. You can even get into the dress up box for costumes to really sell the play. Otherwise using the clothes form mum and dad’s wardrobe will always make for some funny moments.
Chalk drawings outside
Nothing is more entertaining for a child than receiving a big box of chalk and going to town on the driveway making the world’s best mural. If you really want to stretch the little ones minds you can suggest drawing a story where they can then explain it to you once they are done.
This activity as it combines multiple in one. Firstly your child can go out and find the most interesting looking rock to them where they can then bring it inside where they will paint it. Having a wide selection of different colours and brush sizes allows them to really get the creative juices flowing.
Do a puzzle
Puzzles are a very time consuming and stimulating activity that are great for the creative children. Regardless of age all kids love putting together puzzles. For big kids be sure to have some with lots of pieces to keep them really entertained!