Like most kids, my son wants my constant attention and expects me to keep him entertained. Now that school is out, I have to prepare myself for the, “I’m bored!” and the “play with me!”. Now I’m not saying to never play with your kids because that is obviously important too but days without school become long and work/house chores have to be done. Summertime is when every type of summer camp is offered and every moment of your child’s time can be dedicated to a well planned out curriculum of fun. Though several psychologist say that over scheduled kids miss out on boredom, which is IMPORTANT for kids. Boredom allows our kids to become self reliant, explore interests, and have quiet time to think.
“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”
Fry is not the only one to point out the benefits of boredom. Dr. Teresa Belton, visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia with a focus on the connection between boredom and imagination, told the BBC that boredom is crucial for developing “internal stimulus,” which then allows true creativity.
In 1993, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips wrote that the “capacity to be bored can be a developmental achievement for the child.” Boredom is a chance to contemplate life, rather than rushing through it, he said in his book “On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life”. “It is one of the most oppressive demands of adults that the child should be interested, rather than take time to find what interests him. Boredom is integral to the process of taking one’s time,” added Phillips.
This summer encourage your kids to ride their bike, play in the dirt, put on a play, practice photography, play cards, and most importantly to simply use their imagination! Let summer be a crucial time to help our kids really focus on their creativity and discover their passions and interests. They can’t do this if we are constantly planning their days with summer camps and activities.