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It’s okay to be bored

It’s a scene from many households: a child laments “I’m bored!” to a parent who is trying to load the dishwasher. The child has plenty of toys and games, and the suggestion of cleaning up their rooms or putting laundry away is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Cue the level of annoyance from both parties

If you find yourself in this situation, it may help to know what’s really beneath that declaration of boredom. Parenting experts say it’s more about the child wanting to connect with you rather than actually seeking an activity. Taking a moment to talk with your child helps. Younger children often simply need help getting started on a craft or activity that then holds their attention.

Furthermore, boredom isn’t all that bad. These days there is no shortage of screens to stare at, with enough funny videos and memes to last several lifetimes. With so much competition for our attention, our brains are over-stimulated. Boredom quiets the mind to allow for daydreaming, which can inspire all sorts of fun. Sometimes kids just need to dig a hole, build a fort or rediscover long-forgotten toys. The idea is that boredom allows the child to generate the solution, not the parent.

Boredom could also be from lack of physical activity. At Kidspirit we engage bodies and minds, which burns off energy while offering age-appropriate challenges. Parents tell us how their children practice what they do in Kidspirit when they get home. A great boredom buster: ask your child to show you what they learned.


Brought to you by:

Karen Swanger is the Director of OSU KidSpirit Oregon 4-H Youth Programs


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