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Life seem to be a nonstop roller coaster for children.
During the holiday period they barely have a second to catch their breath as parents, including myself, frantically think of ways to entertain them. I am already planning what we can do as a family in the half-term break and we have only just got over the Christmas period.
Looking back at my childhood, it is a complete contrast.
I spent the days looking for ways to entertain myself which included playing board games, reading books, playing hopscotch with friends, and going for a mini adventure on my bicycle; often going out on my own with my brother. If my parents took me to the zoo or the theme park it was unusual. In addition to this, we all looked forward to a week at the nearest seaside resort.
I never, for one second, expected my parents to look for ways to keep me entertained.
Looking back I was a bored kid too….
As I look back at my childhood and compare it to my children’s lifestyle, I don’t ever feel that I never missed out on anything, as I smile at all those fond memories or dirty knees, and rushing back in time for tea.
The long summer holidays were spent entertaining myself; role-playing with my doll’s house, as well as taking time to paint and draw for my parents. My brother was a constant companion, until his teenage years meant it wasn’t “cool” to hang out with my anymore.
Time moved slower; I had time to ponder and let my imagination go wild. Could that be because I didn’t have a huge amount of activities lined up, and we were just counting down to the next trip, class or playdate? Being bored was OK; it become an inspiration to explore and use my imagination. So is it really something MY children should worry about?
In today’s world, the young rarely take a breather. We have so many technological wonders to stimulate; the internet, computer games and digital television packages availlable on call as soon as there is a hint of the dreaded…
Perhaps the more options we give to our children, the less they will do for themselves and will only expect more and more?
I have certainly noticed that if my Stuntboy has spent a few hours watching television overa few days, then that phrase is all too quick to escape his lips…
I begin to wonder whether it is everyday guilt that makes us feel the need to fill any gaps with days out and new distrations.
Boredom can be the start of something special….
There are parenting professionals, such as A-Ha Parenting, that advise being bored as a child is perfectly acceptable, it will actually encourage them to explore their imagination. If children are left to entertain themselves without any aids, then this will allow them the time and space to think for themselves. To build those all important imagination bricks.
We only have certain days when computers and iPads can be switched on and we limit television. Stuntboy would watch all day if he could BUT over the holidays, when they were without it for long periods, the clamour to watch was replaced by Hama Beads, Lego and drawing.
In the last few months, the kids have loved being outside in the park, collecting conkers and pine cones to use as decorations. It brings me great joy to watch my children play how I used to.
So when your children are slightly frustrated from having nothing to do, give them reassurance that this is OK, and that we too, as parents, can feel like that as well. But those moments give us opportunities both to enjoy as we stand back and breathe, as well as offering our minds the freedom to explore the world around.
Do your kids get bored – do you schedule – what are your thoughts?
Photo credit: Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net