“Mom, I’m Bored!” :: The Benefits of Having Nothing to Do

“Mom… Mom…MOM!!”

I won’t lie, I heard them the first time. But, I just LOVE hearing my name said over and again … said no mom ever. I ignored the call because I knew what was coming next. “Mom, I’m bored!”

When it comes to keeping my little Spartans occupied with cool, crafty activities or super fun, high energy experiences, I’m not the World’s Best Mom. I’ll own that. Our days have been super busy lately and I’m just glad when we managed to fulfill our obligations without forgetting one of the kids somewhere. So, I am not preoccupied with keeping my kids entertained every second of every day.

Can boredom be good for our kids?

I remember being raised without much TV screen time, no laptops, smartphones or social media. I also remember playing Tag, building “construction lots” with Tonka trucks, making friends with the kids in the neighborhood, having bike races and getting into mud fights. Very few of those activities were orchestrated by our parents, merely supervised for our safety. We had time to invent new games, experiment with old ones, be creative and spend time building positive relationships with each other. Do you think that would have happened if we had access to all of the ‘smart’ stuff?

How can we turn boredom into creative fun?

The first step in the Bunner household is to create space for our kids to get bored! I know, it sounds scary, right? What do you do with the little savages when every minute of the day isn’t mapped out with activities? With my kids, we avoid creating a strict event itinerary of the day on weekends and holiday breaks.

The flexible day allows them time to breathe.

You would be surprised how innovative kids become when they have a little time and space to try new things. AND, to ensure that those ‘new things’ don’t include supergluing the toilet lid shut, for example, here are some ways that we enhance downtime:

  • Art & Crafts Time: My usual response when my kids say they’re bored is, “Then, let’s create!” A&C time is my usual go-to option to deal with boredom. There are a variety of activities that allows them to create around the kitchen table. Whether it is coloring books or whiteboard drawing, allowing time for kids to explore creatively improves mood and enhances their ability to innovate. Don’t want to sit inside all day? Get outside with sidewalk chalk or kid’s paint! It’s amazing what kids create with that stuff!
  • Hands-On Games: Puzzles, card games, JENGA! Believe it or not, puzzles are a hot commodity for my boys. Games allow for brain strengthening and improve executive function. It also allows boys to challenge each other to use their decision-making skills optimally.
  • Read, read, READ! The library is FREE! The boys love going and picking out their own books. And, I am cool with that. Because, when they want to pass time away with TV time, I can negotiate reading as a prerequisite. Reading is an imperative skill so we champion it in our house.
  • Quiet time=Good time: Providing quiet time and space is actually very healthy for our kids, both physically and mentally. When they feel that they have exhausted all of their creative options, allowing for rest and relaxation can be the best thing they experience at that moment.

So, Mommas, don’t be scared of a little boredom. Kids are filled with intuitive ability to fill their minutes with discovery so let’s lean into that. Try to give them enough space to flex their autonomy while keeping an eye out for safety concerns. But, instead of fighting boredom with TV or YouTube, grab sidewalk chalk, find a driveway and CREATE!

Natalie Bunner
Natalie is a nomadic spirit who loves to travel but has always called Louisiana home. Born and raised in Lafayette, she grew up with five brothers and so she feels that being a #boymom was destiny. Marriage and babies were a late blessing as she became a wife and mother in her mid-thirties but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Life with her husband, Wayne, and two sons, Edison and Oliver, is always full of laughter; there’s never a dull moment with those three! Natalie is a Licensed Social Worker and currently works with children in the charter school system. Providing support for children in need is her life’s purpose. In her mind, social work and motherhood go hand in hand. Creating an environment where kids feel safe, loved and valued as individuals go a long way to building well-adjusted adults. Natalie explores social work and motherhood both here at Lafayette Mom and on her site Connect. Learn. Grow. at nataliebunner.com.


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