"I'm bored" is a complaint that sends parents into a panic, as if the child has uttered some bad word. A bored child does not make one a bad parent. In fact, it is an opportunity to flex some serious parenting skills.
"Boredom can mean many things", says Edmarie Querubin, Higher Grades coordinator of The Raya School. "On the surface, it simply means they have nothing to do or simply don't enjoy doing the task at hand. But with kids, it can mean that an exercise is too easy for them, they've done it before and are tired of the repetition, or have a hard time finishing a task."
Boredom is not fatal, and not necessarily a bad state for a child to be in. But it can be filled with unwanted behavior such as a blank wall filled with crayon sketches, a pet painted with mom's prized makeup concealer or daddy's smartphone sent swimming in the toilet.
To avoid the inconvenience of these mishaps, read through these seven ways to respond to your child's boredom.
Answer 1: “Why are you bored?”
Explore the question with your child and go into a deep dive on their boredom. Says Querubin, “You don’t have to instantly think of something for them to do at once. Ask them how they arrived at that conclusion and what things they have thought of doing.”
This conversation can be a springboard for getting to know your kid a little better, and might just help you deal with their bouts with boredom in the future.
Answer 2: “What would you like to do?”
Sometimes, a kid already has a general idea of what they would like to do. Simply put, they weren’t doing what they wanted to be doing. Listen and act on their request.
Want to build a fort in the living room? Give them pillows, blankets and chairs to build their dream fort.
Want to dance to BTS? Let the music play and watch them imitate their moves. Allow them to have their fun.
Answer 3: "Go clean your room" (and a host of other chores)
Take it as an opportunity to teach important life skills. Knowing how some kids are allergic to chores (especially teenagers), they will probably immediately think of many other things to do rather than clean.
This is great when you have older kids and find yourself short on time and need to delegate cleaning duties. Hand them a mop, broom or rag and have them help around the house.
Answer 4: “Would you like to help?”
Put an end to that aimless feeling that comes with having nothing to do. Having them help family and household members is a great way to get them out of your way. Unless, of course, you’re the one who needs a hand.
Exercise a little patience, especially with little helping hands. Even allow mistakes and messes for the clumsy bigger kids. “Model happiness in activities. Get them involved in the goings on at home”, adds Ms. Querubin.
Answer 5: “What can we do together?”
Take it as an opportunity for bonding and get to know your child by doing an activity together. Play a simple card game. Make merienda for you to enjoy. Play with a pet. Take care of plants. Go on a walk.
“It can be a spontaneous activity or something your child enjoys. The most important thing is you do it together.” says Ms. Querubin. “It is a family effort.”
Answer 6: “That sounds like a good problem to have!”
Did you know that boredom has resulted in discovery? Tell your child that they’re in good company and regale them with stories about how Renaissance painters created masterpieces or how Newton’s observation of falling apples allowed for him to formulate a groundbreaking scientific theory while isolating from the plague.
“Moments like this are opportunities for children to discover new interests and ideas.”, adds Ms. Querubin. So by all means, let them be bored and discover things.
Answer 7: “Wonderful!”
In this overscheduled and over structured world, the idea of doing nothing seems like a strange suggestion. “Let them be bored! Don’t do anything.Take a break. Have a nap.” says Ms. Querubin. “We all need to have a moment of pause. We should model that rest and sleep are important as well”.
About The Writer
Minnette is an experienced writer in entertainment, celebrity publicity, and social media.
As a freelance writer, her work has been published in Smart Parenting, FHM, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Preview Magazine; her extensive coverage often centers around showbiz, parenting, and food; and their interesting convergence in between.
A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and mother to one kid and two cats, Minnette can often be found in the kitchen playing with food.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.