It never fails. The weather is cold, slushy, and unpleasant. The Christmas gifts have lost their novelty. And sitting in online classes just isn’t cutting it. That’s when the plaintive cry rises up, “Moooom, I’m bored.” This cry might be easier to respond to if we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic. But, alas, somehow history-in-the-making doesn’t always stop the loathsome effects of ennui. Fortunately, it’s still possible to know what to do when your kid says they’re bored.
In a world like ours that is constantly driving at 100 miles an hour, sometimes the stillness of boredom isn’t a bad thing. After all, boredom is simply an excess of energy paired with dissatisfaction with what is right in front of us. Now, the last thing we want is discontent kids who drift from one thing to another without appreciating any of it. However, this feeling can be powerful if it’s used to turn kids toward something more meaningful.
When your kid is bored, try exploring that feeling with them. Why aren’t the things they have in front of them not doing it for them? Is it ingratitude? Or is it the desire for something more significant?
Along the lines of finding something with more depth to do, you can encourage your kids to help someone out. This can be a “charity” event like volunteering at a soup kitchen or gathering old clothes to donate, but it doesn’t have to be. Invite your kids to go to the homes of neighbors and ask if they need help with something like shoveling the driveway or walking their dog. This can become something of an “adventure” for kids and help them be more in touch with the world around them.
Start a Project
For kids, “projects” become synonymous with school assignments. This is unfortunate because it takes away from the simple joy of just creating something or taking on a large, satisfying task for fun. The best way to reintroduce the idea is by suggesting that kids take on a task they care about. Encourage them to research their favorite species of dinosaur, break a world record, or give their bedroom a facelift. Along with being fun, this will give kids a sense of purpose and self-efficacy.
Create a Boredom Jar
Of course, giving kids a huge self-actualizing project isn’t always the most viable thing to do when the kids say they’re bored. And that’s ok. More often than not, boredom is a result of not fully appreciating everything that’s in front of you or getting stuck in a rut of the same few activities. To meet that challenge, try creating a “boredom jar” with your kids. Fill it with little pieces of paper or popsicle sticks full of fun things they could do. This will help get both you and the kids out of the doldrums.