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!)
Thanks for stopping by:)
7 thoughts on “‘What’s the Word’ Wednesday”
Books books books books books. Read to him aloud. So when he is ‘bored’, he will go to them. How did he learn to say “I’m bored”? Where did he hear that?? I have never said it in my life.
You are absolutely correct, Manja! I do read to him and he too is in the habit of picking up one or two by his own self but I will have to reinforce that more. My guess is he has started picking up things from older kids (when in a get together or so) and kids of a certain age probably do get bored in parties if there isn’t much for them to do or if there aren’t kids of the same age. I asked him the same question- where did you learn this word from?? And after some deliberation he mentioned that he had heard it from a cousin (much elder to him) and also his Dad had used the word once! I wonder if electronic devices are robbing more from kids a certain age than teaching new things..what do you think?
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Oh, I didn’t doubt that you do, read to him. You sound like a parent who would. 🙂 Good that you asked him, so that you send the message that it’s strange, to be bored. 😉 But I have zero kids, I only remember how special it was for me growing up, to be able to go into books. I don’t think electronic devices are at all good for any of us. 😦 Of course they are useful but should be limited, and we don’t limit ourselves. I know I don’t. 😦 We have grown to be so individualistic in this age with the devices. Either that, or like little sheep, doing what all the friends are doing. Anyway, it’s good that you’re asking yourself the right questions. Answers will come. (Let him do nothing. There is the time for nothing too.)
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You are such a sweetheart, Manja! I know that you did not doubt that I read to him…I am so sorry if i sounded like that…i tend to get clumsy with words at times !And Thank you for your kind words…you are always encouraging and inspiring. ‘Individualistic’- you nailed it..that’s what we are becoming. Have you noticed how at train stations or airports, couples/ families /people traveling together seem to have forgotten to talk to each other and remain glued to their electronic devices? And I have done that myself as well and the feeling is terrible. As Amanda had mentioned in her post (on a similar topic) about information overload….I wonder why we burden ourselves with that! Do we really need to keep track of how ineffectual some corporations and politicians are going to be on matters like climate change..we know the answers already, sadly.
As with the little ones, there is a time for nothing too…couldn’t agree more!
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I wrote about just this thing recently. I think children definitely need some down time to figure things out for themselves. Otherwise they might become stimulus junkies.
Yes!! I did read the post and I remember wondering to myself that this is the second time we have written (I had just started this at that time) about something similar:) I especially liked how you said ‘expectation that entertainment will be provided’…I do think at times that whether that’s what my son might end up expecting. He is still able to keep himself in his world of make believe for most part of his playtime but he, interestingly, mentioned to me just last night when could he play video games like some other friends! He said he feels left out when other kids talk about video games. I am yet to talk to him about the why’s and why not’s of video games but there is so much learning for me too that I sometimes fear I might fall behind in this parenting job!
I remember being bored quite a lot as a kid, and then I would let my imagination run wild. Over here, there’s a similar trend of keeping busy and I often wonder whether it’s not a bit stressful for small children