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Acting on boredom

Acting on boredom


There has been a lot written about the benefits of allowing children to be bored.  The main idea is that we encourage our kids to think creatively by leaving them to come up with their own entertainment rather than scheduling their time full of structured activities as if they are little adults.

The problem with this is that our children have poor models of what to do with unstructured time.  Their peers have as little experience with creative boredom as they do.  Their media influences generally don't encourage this kind of free play.  Their parents certainly don't model anything more creative than sitting in front of their screens.  So it's little wonder that our kids have so much trouble when we ask them to make their own entertainment.

My solution to this is as yet untried, though I suspect that it would benefit parents as much as children. I am going to try and spend more unstructured play time with my kids.  We already do various activities together. We play boardgames, go for walks, play sports, read books, watch family movies, and any number of things. Most of these activities are fairly directed, however, and while there is nothing wrong that sometimes, I think we need to spend more time together without direction. Rather than going for a hike, for example, we might just make some time to play in the forest and see what happens.

I can't remember doing this sort of thing since I was a child, and I think that may just be the point.