Feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction; boredom
My four year old has been, of late, using the sentence:’ I am bored!’ And I have been processing it, very carefully…trying out different things to lessen his ‘boredom’. He has also recently started getting more screen time than usual as I have been slacking, probably, in keeping him occupied. That has been followed by pangs of guilt and some serious ‘research’ into how to best stimulate the young mind, how to keep them occupied etc etc. All of this also has had less than desirable results at times, setting the whole cycle in motion again!
Growing up, I was always told to keep myself occupied as much as possible as it was not a good thing to sit idle. Who can remember this from their childhood days- ‘An idle brain is the devil’s workshop!’ And so ingrained is that notion in my mind that I too have been doing the same with my son and in the process probably not letting him be a child. I wonder is too much structured time good for kids? I look around and parents and kids are running from one activity to the other and both often look exhausted and somewhat ‘doing things for the sake of doing them’. I have already had suggestions from ‘concerned’ minds that I should be enrolling my son, before it’s too late, in guitar lessons and soccer and some sort of piano or drum lessons too (my kid is just another kid who loves to kick the ball around and beat the drums and strum his ukulele). And the only thought that had crossed my mind was “too late for a four year old??”
Recent research has shown that being bored once in a while is actually good for the child’s brain (https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2018/03/08/unplug-your-kids-boredom-is-good-for-the-brain/- there are many more articles on this topic..just ask Google!) It gives them time to be creative and helps them think. If a parent is filling in all the free time of the child, I wonder how will they learn to do it themselves? We cannot think for the kids nor should we and as I am learning slowly, it is not good for my kid to be told how to keep himself occupied at all times. I need to let him be a kid and help him visit the land of make believe.
We did not have the electronic devices at our finger tips and we did figure out ways to keep ourselves from getting ‘bored’. And as far as I remember, it was fun to pretend play and talk to other kids, get into quarrels and figure out how to get along, scrape our knees playing on the streets and get our hands dirty in the mud! I wonder if we are failing to give our kids enough outdoor time or has societal norms put such limits? Such thoughts cross my mind and I am often perplexed by the complexity of the answers. Times are different and life has become much more demanding and trying to find a balance between the ideal and what’s possible can sometimes be an uphill task. But I am willing to let my four year old get a little bored and figure out things on his own, get down on my knees and get our hands dirty, if not in the mud then in the play dough and other gooey stuff!
(I had started writing this post about a month ago and had then just forgotten! My ‘bored’ four year old made me think about this today and I am thankful for that ‘boredom!)
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