Mum – I’m Bored!

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When I was a kid, my mother only ever had one response to my whined statement.

‘Well,’ she would say, putting her face on a level with mine. ‘Go find something to do.’

It is school holiday time again and our newspapers are full of suggestions of ‘what to do with the kids these holidays’.  Blog pages are dedicated to boredom-buster activities. It seems our children need to be constantly entertained or the most undesirable state in the entire world…BOREDOM…will set in.

When I was teaching, the word ‘boring‘ as in ‘Maths is boring’ was banned in my classroom.  That’s because many children used the word ‘boring’ when they meant ‘difficult’ or ‘takes too long to finish’.

Early in the school year I would explain to my students that I would put every possible effort into making lessons relevant and engaging for them, but there would be times when the subject matter would be less than riveting. When these times arose, I promised to alert them so that  they could concentrate really hard. That way the tedious but necessary content could be completed in the shortest possible time.

I don’t think boredom is to be avoided. To me, boredom is when your brain just doesn’t have anything to think about. Is that such a bad thing?

In my own experience of boredom, it is just the pre-cursor of imagination, day-dreaming, invention, exercise and adventure.  Giving my mind to have a break allowed it to search around for new ideas.

Children need to understand that their world, at times, includes times that require patience, down-time, mind-relaxation and, yes, boredom.  Being bored means your mind is resting for a minute or two.

Why must our minds be bombarded with stimulation all  the time? Why can’t we let our minds rest occasionally? Can we not allow for a mental tea break?  We do it for our bodies, why not for our brains? Do we, as parents, schedule our children’s lives to the point where their brains do not have enough down-time.

Maybe we should let them be bored sometimes.

What would happen if, when our kids come out with the dreaded ‘I’m bored!’, we replied ‘Well, go find something to do.’?

Maybe it would be worth a try. After all the inevitable complaining and moaning had died down, it might just be the beginning of some creativity, imagination, invention and adventure.

Hmmm – I wonder.

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8 thoughts on “Mum – I’m Bored!

  1. If you ask my children (two now fast approaching forty, the other passed that milestone a few years ago), they will tell you that my standard response to whines of “I’m bored” was always “only boring people get bored”. Just a variation on “find something to do”, but as a predictable response, it had the desired effect of reducing the number and frequency of whines.
    There were a number of occasions when I heard, “I’m bored,” followed by a sneering “only boring people get bored,” then “C’mon, Sis, let’s find something to do.” Result? Not always; what they found to do often fell under the heading of ‘naughty’!

    1. I have used that response too, Keith…(still do on occasion when my hubby finds a television program or film boring after the first two and a half minutes). Sounds like your children were very much like mine….naughty or inventive…it’s all a matter of perspective.

  2. I used to tell my boys when they were little to go out and find fairies in the bottom of the garden if they were bored. It worked ….
    I enjoyed this post Erica thank you.

  3. yeah…nowadays kids say they are bored and their parents get busy to find something for them to do! Ridiculous. Plus now humans get bored so fast with everything they do.

  4. ‘Boredom’ does have its benefits. I suppose Isaac Newton sat under the apple tree because he was ‘bored’!
    “Go find something to do” is the best response to “I’m bored.” Unfortunately, these days, parents feel guilty if they say this.

    1. That’s true. I wonder what has happened over the last, oh, twenty years or so that has made parents feel guilty if they say ‘no’ to their children or do not pander to their every whim.
      Parents seem to be focussed on being their child’s friend rather than his parent.

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