Happy Holidays! Well, as happy as they can be with the recent news of the lockdowns etc that essentially put Sydney out for the entire time. Thinking of you all and hoping we can all help each other find the joy in the smallest things during this time. I myself was meant to be having my family visit from NSW this week and my sister was meant to be moving up which was beyond exciting. They haven’t visited since January and my hopes were up but sadly they are unable to enter QLD at this time. It’s incredibly frustrating and saddening for me as I adore them all, as does my daughter Evie, and we were all craving some quality time with each other, so fingers crossed we won’t have to wait too much longer!
Anyway, with all the changes you may now have your kids at home with you WAY more than you planned or are ready for or if you are just living life as normal without restrictions, there is still no school to break the day up and you may be unsure of how to fill the time (well in between the endless snack making and what not). So, I thought that sharing some information about letting your kids be bored and why it is so important for them would be invaluable at this time.
Like us adults, our children’s days are becoming fuller and busier by the time they fit in school, homework, extra-curricular activities, sporting events & trainings and carnivals and a plethora of other things that come up. And then when they are home, they are further stimulating their minds with screen time and the wealth of information that gets absorbed via this.
For those with younger children not yet at school, I wonder how many of you feel the need to entertain your child all day!? Do you feel like you need to set up these incredibly intricate and gorgeous play invitations or have the knowledge of a qualified educator to set up engaging educational activities? Or perhaps you feel guilty for leaving your child play by themselves while you sneak some chores in. Trust me, I get it.
Letting your child have independent play and not filling up every spare space in their day can actually provide huge benefits for their cognitive, social and emotional growth.
Think about how not only beneficial it is for us as adults but also how needed it is for us to just have some downtime for ourselves and some good old peace and quiet. I know, I know, there are probably some eye rolls happening and some of you saying ‘yep, I know how important it is but when do I fit that in.’ And again, I totally get it. Even if you don’t get a chance for some ‘you’ time everyday, think back and remember how you felt after the last time you had some.
Well it’s the same for our kids. They take in an incredible amount of information every day and SO much learning and growth and processing is happening that their little minds also need time to just be.
So, why is it ok for us as parents to step back and leave ‘space’ in the day?
When we allow space and time for our little loves it allows them time to process and work through new things in their world, for example, a child using dramatic play to re-enact a scenario or an older child free drawing their interpretations. This is their way of making sense of the world and their role in it as well forming thoughts, ideas and opinions.
Allowing children to be ‘bored’ also does wonders for their creativity and imagination. Free and unstructured play encourages children to think outside of the box, come up with ideas and games for themselves and therefore encourages critical and creative thinking. Look at how exciting a cardboard box and some bubble wrap were for us back in day. It doesn’t need to be with anything elaborate!
I was working with a grade two class the other day and they had some time to use the construction materials, which was mainly a box of recycled items, and the creations they came up with on their own in such a short space of time was amazing ! Not to mention the language that was happening and the pride they had in themselves and their sense of accomplishment!
Having this time also allows your babes to connect deeper into themselves and pursue interests and hobbies or find out what they are capable of. There’s no pressure when there is no expectation of the end product. It’s all about the process. This builds your child’s confidence and self worth and can mean they may be more likely to experiment a bit more and take more risks.
For the future, it gives them skills to be patient, to be ok with their own company and to not feel like they always need to be surrounded by others, to be mindful and to have a set of skills and strategies for working through their feelings.
So where to from here?
So the next time you find yourself thinking of ways to fill in every minute of the day or your child comes up to you and says they’re bored take a step back and remember all your child has to gain from a little boredom.
It might not work straight away, especially with older children but small steps and you’ll be surprised. Next time your kids tell you they are bored you might need to start off by suggesting some things they can do or by saying to them ‘I am looking forward to seeing how you pass the time’ or ‘ I can’t wait to see what you come up with’ or ‘I wonder what you will choose to do with this space and time.’ Leave them to it for awhile and see how they go. Eventually it should become more natural.
I think it’s important to remember to that of course there is a place for play provocations and activities set up and having a parent or an adult join in their play is just magical for children, like everything else in life, it’s all about a balance of activities and experiences.
I hope this blog helps to bring some sanity, calmness and joy to your days and to your babes days and that it sets the tone for what’s to come over the next few weeks.
I would absolutely love to hear from you and how this journey goes if you decide to embark on it so please leave a comment here on on our Insta post and send me a DM. Please also share using the socials buttons on this page if you know of anyone else that would benefit from reading this.Again, thinking of everyone during this discombobulating time xx