The urge to keep our kids busy and quiet could be robbing them of some valuable lessons.There is growing evidence to suggest that modern children are being overloaded, and sometimes the best option is to leave them to their own devices – but not the electronic kind.
According to social commentator and youth trends expert Michael McQueen, parents are failing to teach their children an important lesson – boredom is a necessary and valuable part of life. He says being bored forces children to activate their imaginations and create their own fun.
“There certainly isn’t any hard and fast rule, but the most important message is one of balance and boundaries,” he says.
Resist the urge to rescue
Necessity is truly the mother of invention and your kids may need to experience the pangs of boredom in order to move past them and grow through the experience. Stepping in to provide a solution or new distraction will rob them of the benefit and lessons they could otherwise gather.
“By having downtime, young people are essentially forced to come up with their own games and entertainment. Recent research from the University of California indicates that downtime is actually a key process in the way our minds turn experiences into memories. Not allowing for downtime actually affects our mental function.
Actions speak louder than words. Do your kids see you embracing downtime or are you always busying yourself?
Michael says it’s also essential for parents to practice what they preach. “A good place to start is by modelling the change,” he says. “It is vital that your kids see you are content to have downtime and not fill every idle moment on your phone, checking emails or going on Facebook.”
Wean them onto it
Set boundaries around screen or device time, which grow over time. Allow your kids to get used to being disconnected and un-entertained.