Let Your Kids Be Bored (despite the mess…)

I love the thought that is floating around parenting blogs lately that says, “let your kids be bored!”

I wholeheartedly agree that boredom is good for kids. It breeds creativity. It breeds teamwork. It breeds physical activity. It’s the opposite of putting them in front of a screen.

I have been trying to implement this since becoming a stay at home mom in the summer of 2018. I have an eight-year-old, a four-year-old and an almost one-year-old. My younger girls to still take good naps in the afternoon, but my eight-year-old is beyond that point. So, that leaves a couple hours every afternoon where she is “bored.” I’ve implemented a short reading time, and a chore, but beyond that I was getting lazy and letting her watch too much screen time. So, I am now letting her be bored more often.

The result is awesome actually! She has come up with some crazy stuff. She has made a robot costume out of cardboard boxes, complete with a Star Wars-style name and glitter and paint. She has made an elaborate fort in my basement, utilizing chairs and blankets and tables and pillows. It has provided hours of entertainment. She even found a way to make magnets out of magazine clippings.

My favorite project that I’ve seen her try was on a day that was very hot- almost 100 degrees! She decided to do a lemonade stand! She made the lemonade, set out a table, made a sign, got the ice bucket ready, and sat out there for an hour!  She sold several cups and made $11!  She was thrilled.  I love it. I am enjoying watching her creativity blossom and I’m surprised daily by the things she comes up with.

However, there is a side to this endeavor that the parents don’t talk about. All this creativity and innovation and engineering create a giant mess! A disaster.  I didn’t really think this through. I don’t say this to discourage you from implementing a “no boredom” time. However I say this to warn you that there are risks to the reward.

Just be prepared, you will have many more messes. Your playroom will not look like Pinterest. You will be frustrated. You may even have to spend some money to make their elaborate dreams come true. But I repeat, it is so worth it. There is still glitter on my floor from the robot project.  I gave up my nap and made a trip to the store for the lemonade endeavor.  What have your kids come up with when they were bored?

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