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Taking boredom to another level - Pt.2. why it’s important to be bored

Taking boredom to another level - Pt.2. why it’s important to be bored

Parents often feel guilty if their child tells them they’re bored. They feel like it’s because they’re not doing enough for them or providing their child with enough stimulation. Or, because of the child’s emotional reaction, they fear that their child must be feeling really awful. In reality, for the vast majority of the time, neither of these things are true. 

From time to time, even the most entertaining people get bored. And that is especially true of kids. 

Children can see the fun in everything - with anything from a bubble blower to a tennis ball, they can keep themselves cheerful for a good few hours. 


But, despite their natural tendency towards fun, boredom can still often hit. Then, when it does, there’s always the risk of a tantrum. 

We’re not quite finished with boredom yet. So, in a sequel to our previous boredom blog post, we’ve created our guide to taking boredom to another level. Read on to find our tips for turning boredom on its head into a positive.


Why boredom? 

Parents often feel guilty if their child tells them they’re bored. They feel like it’s because they’re not doing enough for them or providing their child with enough stimulation. Or, because of the child’s emotional reaction, they fear that their child must be feeling really awful. In reality, for the vast majority of the time, neither of these things are true. 


Despite what people say, boredom is not a bad thing! Our previous blog post spoke about the developmental benefits that the odd bit of boredom can bring to a child. 

For those of you who haven’t read it yet, these included:



The ability to self-soothe

Independent play


More successful problem-solving

So, as you can see, it’s well worth trying to harness the power of boredom.


A generation of boredom

It’s interesting to consider how boredom is, to some degree, a product of the times.


Today’s overstimulated Gen Z has spent the majority of their lives with electronic devices widely available. TVs, phones, tablets and games consoles are there to provide entertainment whenever they want it, at the click of a button.


There’s endless flickering images, bright colours, and constant streams of content all vying for our attention. From a psychological perspective, it’s interesting to see what this does to our capacity for boredom. 


Eurostat found that 94% of young people living in the EU used the internet every day. So, this is a trend that is affecting the overwhelming majority. 


A recent piece by The Guardian highlighted the findings of a study by Childwise into children’s screen time. The research sought to pinpoint how this increased usage of devices was impacting children. 


The article stated that, by the time they have reached 7 years of age, most children own their own mobile phones.


Furthermore, and perhaps more alarmingly, the study demonstrated the importance of these devices in these children’s lives. According to the study, the findings showed just how much phones could “dominate children’s lives”.


Over a third (39%) of the children surveyed stated that they could not live without their phones. More than half (57%) ‘always’ had their phone by the bedside when they were asleep, and 42% said that they were ‘constantly worried’ by the idea of their phone going out of battery.


As we can clearly see, the dependency that we have on phones runs deep. We place far too high a value on these devices to instantly cure our boredom. Then, as we get access to more and more overstimulating content, this negative cycle feeds on itself. 


How to bring out the best side of boredom

In a world of constantly overstimulated minds, it’s more important than ever to find practical solutions for dealing with boredom. 


Because boredom isn’t something that should be feared. Instead, you can use your child’s boredom to develop their ability to independently self-soothe. They don’t need you or their electronics to cure their boredom. There’s a whole world out there!


So, don’t panic and reach for a quick-fix gadget. Instead, try applying one of these actionable, practical tips for making the best out of boredom.


The right ways to fix boredom


Be aware of how much screen time they’ve had that day

If they’re complaining of boredom, you’ll probably need to say to your child outright that they can’t just go on their devices all afternoon. 


Building on what we said earlier on, try to keep track of how much time they’ve spent on their devices. If it’s more than you would like it to be, don’t make false promises to bargain with them (like ‘you can have your phone back in an hour). 


Try not to make too much of a drama out of the temporary phone ban. You don’t need to hide them or be in total fear of a tantrum. Simply say that they’ve spent a lot of time on their phones today, so they need to find something else to do. 


Promote self-soothing. 

If your child is bored, try to avoid helicopter parenting. Instead, leave them be. 


Although they might be upset at first, they’ll soon get tired of being stroppy and instead work towards finding something better to amuse themselves. 


By getting them to think about what they would like to do, you can encourage them to self-soothe and play independently in a happy way. As you can imagine, this will be highly beneficial to them.


Turn their mind to something creative

Although you should avoid giving them a long list of ideas (which they’d inevitably ignore anyway), you could make a couple of vague suggestions. 


If you can gently steer them in the direction of creativity, this would be a great activity for them to fix their boredom. 


Arts and crafts are the ultimate boredom-curer, as these activities require a lot of imagination. So, the child’s brain space is too taken up by the art to dwell on the fact that they were bored a few minutes ago.


Start exercising 

Or, exercise is another top activity to go to. 


The great thing about doing exercise after a spell of boredom is that you’ll probably want to push yourself a lot harder. You could even make a competition out of it - see how many skipping rope jumps your child can do in a row (for example). 


Plus, exercise is a natural mood booster, as it raises your endorphin levels. So, it’ll put your child in a much better mood afterwards. 


Head outside

The natural world is full of things to do!


There’s so much that your child can see, explore and discover. Our blog is absolutely jam-packed with ideas for natural play, so be sure to check out these posts if you want to get your child out in the garden: 


We Must Teach Our Children to Smell the Earth

A Beginners Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables

And Into The Forest We Go

(Just to give you a few!)


Don’t give in

For some of these points, we’ve mentioned a few smaller, subtler ways that you can help your child to cure their boredom. 


Now, this might all sound a bit counterintuitive, but there’s a fine line. You need to strike that balance between helicopter parenting and giving the child a gentle helping hand towards self-soothing (if they need it). 


The main way that you can overstep this mark is by giving in to requests of having their devices back or fussing over them if they’ve had a tantrum. In some cases, joint play is an excellent way to deal with your child’s boredom, but if it’s for the wrong reasons (i.e. wanting to depend on you to cure this boredom), then don’t give in!


Give them an end time

Adult or child, none of us respond well to an endless stretch of time, with nothing to do. 


So, help your child focus their efforts, and know that it is worth finding something to do independently by giving them an end time. 


You could say, for example, that you’ll be having dinner in 1 hour, so you have until then to entertain yourself. This will give your child an extra hit of motivation to fill this little bit of time.


Be empathetic - boredom is a rubbish feeling! 

Your child doesn’t need you to nag them or tell them that they’ve ‘already got loads of toys, so there’s no reason they should be bored’.


It’s horrible to feel bored, and it’s a perfectly natural feeling. We all get like that sometimes, and (even though it’s a parent’s tendency to react this way) it doesn’t need chastising. 


Listen to them, empathise with them, and allow them to vent to you if they’re feeling a little upset. Then, remind your child that they have the power to fix this feeling all by themselves. 

Now, you’re fully equipped to help your child stop boredom in its tracks. By using these tips, you can enable your child to gain all the developmental benefits that come from a bit of boredom without causing them unnecessary stress or upset. 

With any luck, you’ll be able to put a stop to tantrums, too...

With a piece of Mini beee garden furniture, your child can bolster their independence by developing their ability to cure boredom with creative play. 



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