Friday, August 20, 2010

Benefits of Boredom

The boys and I spent two hours at the auto repair shop this morning. Fortunately, the waiting room had a TV set tuned to PBS kids and a coffee table shrouded with periodicals. I began flipping through the parenting magazines, when a particular article caught my eye. The author documented her family's experiences abstaining from electronics for five days.

I was intrigued, and thoroughly enjoyed her commentary. But my biggest "ah-ha" moment came when the author declared: having bored kids is not bad. She cited experts that touted the benefits of bored kids. Evidently, boredom sprouts imaginary play and encourages creativity.

Finding motivation from the author, I decided to thoroughly bore my kids this afternoon and observe the results. So, we did nothing this afternoon...absolutely nothing.

It was interesting to observe the kids. After they came to terms with the fact we'd be spending the afternoon at home, they actually did tap into their creativity.

Fortunately, the great outdoors provided an unlimited array of activities, and that's where they spent most of their time. First the boys engaged in sprinkler play. They limboed, jumped, skipped, and frolicked among the sprays, giggling the whole time.

After the water play, they turned the jogging stroller upside down and made it a rocket...then a fort...then a cave.

The outdoor play continued until the heat took its toll, then the boys sought shelter in the air conditioning. They discovered the playing card box and created their own games and rules using the cards on hand.

I think the author is right. Bored kids are not all bad. They require less stuff and entertainment that I previously thought.

I think I'm retiring my position as "cruise director" and delegating more of the choices of pastime play to my little ones. I wonder how they'll fill the time?

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