Wednesday, August 7, 2013

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Get Bored: Part 2

Yesterday I shared that I intentionally let me kids get bored. That's right, I purposefully plan time with nothing going on. Sounds un-American, doesn't it.  It is certainly counter intuitive.  Everything inside of me wants to keep my kids engaged and entertained all day, every day.  I must push these feelings aside and allow my kids to be bored. I must remind myself that it is OK. . .actually good for my kids to be bored.  


Here are 5 reasons I do not try to eliminate boredom. Actually, I shared reasons #1 and #2 yesterday. And today, I share reasons #3 thru 5. The post was getting too long to combine all 5 reasons in one post.

#3. Unstructured days give my kids time to think, to ponder, to ask questions like How does this work?  Why does she respond that way? Can I build a parachute from an old sheet and truly glide from the deck to the ground below (true story)?



Let's look at the word "amusement." (I was a high school English teacher in my previous life).  The Latin word "muse" means "to think." The prefix "a-" means "not."  So "amuse" literally means "not think."  We go to an amusement park to forget about life for the day, to get away from the worry and stress. It is OK to "get away" from time to time, but this should not be the norm all day, every day.  

The average American kid spends 6 hours or more in front of a TV, computer, iPad, or other screen each day. They are constantly amused and have no time to ponder.  What a shame.  In our effort to love our kids, we have stolen from them the gift to sit and quietly ponder.  
 

4. A fourth reason I do not pack each day with activities and playdates and outings is that I want to build strong sibling relationships.  When kids are bored and do not have adults planning their days, they are often forced to turn to each other for their entertainment.  Jonathan (age 6) would not be David's (age 14) first choice of playmates, but when unscheduled time abounds and David has no one else to play with, David will gladly bring Jonathan along in his adventures.  

I often tell my children that friends come and go, but they will have siblings their whole lives.  Therefore, why not make your siblings your best friends?

 
And #5. The last reason I do not try to eliminate boredom is because when we finally sit still, get rid of all the noise in our days, we can hear God's voice.  Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God."  In our busy world we rarely sit and get in touch with the God of the universe.  If we expect him to speak to our hearts we must unplug.  The same is true for our children. 



Now I have known these 5 reasons for a while. . .in my head. I mean they actually took no time to come up with. But  I struggle to keep these 5 reasons in my heart.

For some reason I am afraid of letting my kids get bored.  I feel guilty when my kids are lounging around on the couch. I almost immediately ask, "What's wrong?"

For some reason I want to be a fun mom. And our culture screams that we must be busy, and over-scheduled to raise our kids right.  But I want more for my kids.  I want them to use their imaginations.  I want them to ponder the world.  I want them to discover their interests and grow deep seeded passions.  I want them to learn to be good friends.  And I want them to hear from the God who made them and loves them and has a purpose for their lives.  

So anyone want to join me in letting our kids get bored? 

I am sharing this post over at some of my favorite blog parties: Serenity NowJuana MikelsA Bowl Full of LemonsTitus 2 TuesdaysRaising Mighty Arrows

6 comments:

  1. Hi Su,
    Love these two posts! Quick question. Do you have electronics in the home and if yes, what are your boundaries for them. Just curious.
    I do miss the days when kids spent all day outside creating! Thanks for your insightful memories. :)
    Anita

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  2. Su-
    You know that I feel the exact same way!! We have one family TV, never a TV/movies in the car or on trips, very limited electronics and I love to see my kids (14) outside playing, inside creating, etc. I do think it gets harder as they get older and sometimes it's "easier" just to give them something to do or indulge them, but then I feel their imaginations shrinking...so, I needed this little reminder. I love your parenting style, your blog and your family values!

    Especially having twins, I have been telling my kids from day 1 that they will always have a best friend-and they live with them...it's so great to know that they will always have eachother and they really do enjoy hanging out together! Love it!

    thx, marta

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  3. I agree! Our kids watch about one video a week (usually 20-30 minutes and generally something along the lines of a nature documentary) and sometimes get a 15 minute turn on the iPad. They never have a problem finding someone to play with or something interesting to do. It does create a bit more work on my end because they are super creative they use all kinds of non-toy items to build ships, buses, cars, and whatever else they happen to think of. We also have some rest time each day which gives them some quiet, alone time to fill. I love to see them have the time to get lost in play and to be building strong friendships with one another while they also learn about and process the world around them. Thanks for the great post!

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  4. Good Morning Sue! I am coming over from Wednesday Prayer Girls.

    I love this concept. Coming from a large family, we had each other, and that was the fun! Lots of bike rides, library trips and digging in the dirt...loved it! Let me tell you, you ARE the fun Mom! Your kids will have great memories of being kids, not just shuttled around from here to there.

    Nice to meet you today!
    Ceil

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  5. I'm encouraged I'm not the only one who thinks this is important. It's easy to be tricked into feeling like filling our kids' time with activities is most meaningful. They need us and each other. Sibling relationships are priceless. Thank you for an encouraging post. ~ Sarah Ivy

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