It’s easy to find websites devoted to expensive and elaborate ways to keep your children entertained over the summer. I want to encourage you to embrace the boredom because it’s actually good for your kids! A while ago, I blogged about a study that showed how many adults would prefer an electrical shock to being alone with their thoughts – I can’t help but believe that when we over-schedule and over-entertain children, they grow into this type of adult. If you are not convinced, read on to understand why boredom is a good thing:
- Kids need unstructured time. Much of the school year is spent juggling classes, sports, and extracurricular activities. It is such an important skill for kids to learn how to tolerate downtime and create their own entertainment. Summer is the time when kids are most likely to have extended downtime.
- It boosts creativity. Creativity comes during downtime. Think back to your own childhood – remember back when moms didn’t care so much about how you spent your time? Did you get lost in a book, find a neighborhood group of kids to play with or develop some elaborate world in your play? Kids need to feel enough boredom that they feel motivated to imagine a solution to their boredom. If we constantly suggest (or direct) what they do, then they are not learning how to generate their own solutions.
- Not everyday is Disney World. If our children are constantly exposed to expensive and elaborate remedies for boredom, it makes day to day living seem intolerable. Use amusement parks or big outings as a very special treat in the summer so that kids can learn patience and look forward to an event. Adults who can enjoy small pleasures in life are more likely to be content. It’s easy to be happy on vacation; it’s a more valuable skill to find happiness in everyday activities.
It can definitely feel difficult to embrace this philosophy if you live in a community where expensive camps and elaborate outings are the norm. However, I bet you can find some like-minded moms and start a trend. You might find a lot of relieved moms who are tired of entertaining their kids and spending a fortune to do it.