Mom, I’m bored!
Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 |
Today’s blog was written by Miss Shannon, one of Gymco’s child development experts. To learn more about Miss Shannon, click here!
‘Mom, I’m bored!’
If I had a dollar for every time I heard either of my children proclaim boredom, I’d be a wealthy woman. Over the years, at varying ages and developmental stages, boredom can have many different meanings.
It’s often difficult to decipher what a young child means when he or she says ‘I’m bored.’ They may proclaim boredom out of frustration, exhaustion, or simply because they do not want to participate at that exact moment.
‘You must be boring!’
I grew up (happily!) without a computer, iPhone, iPad or Xbox. In fact, I didn’t even play a home video game until I was well into my teenage years. I had an amazing childhood, filled with adventure. I played outside until the street lights came on – that was how I knew it was time to go home. My mother opened the door each morning and sent us out, and we only stopped home for meals. My sister and I would play hide and seek with the neighbors or build forts in our yard. We had tons of toys to keep us busy… yet I, too, would proclaim boredom. When I told my mom I was bored, she would say: ‘you must be boring.’ So as a parent, this is how I have responded to my children’s claims. ‘You must be boring!’
The real problem… and the fix
After years of teaching and having my own children, I’ve realized that sometimes children say they are bored to get our attention – and usually, it evokes a reaction. But it’s not up to us to solve the problem of boredom! Our responsibility is to give kids the opportunity to articulate their feelings. As with any other feeling or abstract term, it’s important to offer guidance to help children navigate through their emotions. We can do this in two steps:
First, we need to make sure that all of their basic needs are met (they have had adequate sleep and nutrition). Sometimes emotions can arise from being hungry or tired. Once basic needs are met, kids will be more able to express themselves verbally. By teaching kids to verbalize their feelings, we are providing them with a lifetime skill.
Then, we can start asking questions:
• Why are you bored?
• What is boring?
• Is the activity too hard or too easy?
• Do you understand the instructions?
Once we’re closer to the root of the problem, we can teach our children about coping with boredom. Do they need extra challenges or more direction? If they’re feeling overwhelmed or insecure, do they need support?
A great resource for boredom issues is your child’s teacher. Whether you’re looking for creative challenges or ideas for support, they’re there to help!