Saturday, May 23, 2015
Reflections on Boredom
Back in the "old" days children seldom said they were bored. Why? Well, if you said you were bored your mom or dad would find something for you to do such as mow the lawn, wash the car, mop the floors. clean the garage, or some other fun-filled activity that would keep you busy. Today, however, boredom has become the mantra of many children.
So what do you do when your child says they are bored? First, figure out what bored means to your child.
Bored can mean this is too difficult. A child may not really know how to do something, whether it is long division, writing a book report, or fixing a zipper. Not wanting to look stupid they say they are bored. There is an easy fix. Show them what to do. If they really can't do it, maybe developmentally they aren't ready for it.
Being bored can also mean a task is too easy. Five math problems can be done. Twenty of the same type of problems every night for a month really are boring to a child who can easily figure out the answers. If your child is finding all of his classwork too easy, perhaps you should look carefully at his school placement.
Being bored may mean you child really doesn't know how to entertain herself. This is when you encourage your child to explore the library, painting, cooking, dog grooming, anything to help your child find a passion. A child (or an adult) with a passion should not be bored.
But sometimes being bored is saying, "This isn't fun. I don't want to finish this," which means, "I am not being entertained." Now is the time you should decide what kind of adult you hope to send out into the world. Staying up with a sick child isn't entertaining, visiting a loved one in a hospital or a nursing home isn't entertaining, walking the dog everyday (especially in the cold or rain) isn't entertaining. A doctor seeing the tenth sore throat of the day, a pharmacist counting pills at the end of the day, an engineer checking the numbers for the third time, a cook making sure the chicken is safe -- there are many tasks in life that are not entertaining. Do you want to send your child into a world where nobody takes responsibility for anything that isn't fun?
So, who's bored? I have a kitchen that needs to be cleaned.