Give children the gift of boredom

Every time the summer holidays come around, a slew of articles and blog posts will flourish, each full of clever ideas about how to keep children entertained over the summer. However, what parents fail to realise is that overfilling the children’s time with countless activities makes them tired and sloppy.

In fact, the best days are the ones where parents let the reins go and allow their children to find ways to make their own fun. Having an unstructured schedule for the day allows children to have fun while developing their minds at the same time. Dr Sharie Coombes, a child and family psychotherapist, said that experiencing boredom is “an important experience for children and young people to have in terms of their own social, intellectual, emotional and psychological development”. She added that “children need space to find out who they are, how they can apply their own skills to new situations, how to overcome obstacles and improvise, and how to feel a sense of pride in what they are capable of doing”. If children are not given such opportunities to think for themselves or resolves their own minor problems, they may be far less likely to grow up resilient or creative.

Of course, parents should still instil some structure into their children’s summer holidays. However, taking a step back at times will not only help parents to relax more but by being more hands-off, their children will also grow.

Molly-coddling a child can take many forms and this includes enrolling them into many enrichment and holiday programmes. I can definitely relate to the writer’s opinion that overloading children with too many activities will leave them tired and unable to connect with their inner selves. If they do not have time to be bored, children may not be able to develop their inner resilience.


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