Boredom and the Effects

Know How (and Why) To Hop Off the “Let Them Be Bored” Bandwagon Parents Frequently Use During the Long Summer Days!

This awareness message is brought to you in partnership with Empower Tusc.

Have you heard the “Let them be bored”?    Hop off that bandwagon.  Those who argue that young people are overscheduled and need downtime.  They believe boredom sparks creativity and encourages autonomy.

Research shows there is slim-to-none to back up these claims.  Yes, many children are overscheduled and could probably benefit from some downtime and lazy days over summer.  Yes, boredom can cause youth to get creative in how they end up spending time.

However,  there are problems with each of these arguments.  Relaxing downtime is different than relentless boredom.  Relaxing downtime will supply children to refresh and recharge and relentless boredom will leave them feeling displeased, discontented, and dissatisfied.  While being bored can cause children to be creative, that creativity is not always positive, safe or healthy.

Let’s look at some ideas to keep kids busy and away from the “Let them be bored” mentality.

Things to Keep Kids Busy and Not Bored:
  • Go to a thrift store or garage sale and find something oddly fabulous for your wardrobe or room
  • Stargaze from the top of your roof or the backyard
  • Take up the ukulele or some other instrument
  • Do something kind for someone
  • Get creative! Draw, Paint, make a collage
  • Pretend to be a tourist and visit the top attractions in your town
  • Climb a tree
  • Write and produce a film or play with your friends
  • Have a scream-a-thon, invite friends  and watch scary movies
  • Re-create a childhood photo
  • Try out a new sport
  • Relax in a hammock
  • Go fishing
  • Run through sprinklers
  • Make something homemade
  • Organize a tug of war
  • Have a bonfire and make smores or hot dogs
  • Make a root beer float
  • Teach yourself to do a handstand
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Write, a song, a poem, or a short story
  • Have a backyard potluck with neighbors
  • Make your own slip and slide (add a bar of soap- or dawn)
  • Host a game of capture the flag
  • Read a book in the sun-then nap
  • Enjoy water balloons

While kids certainly need downtime to recharge and refresh, keeping them engaged and active is essential to their mental and physical well-being, and will help them avoid the pitfalls that boredom may bring.

While we should not be expected to keep our children entertained 24/7, as parents and other caregivers, it is our responsibility to help them explore their own creative interests in a safe and beneficial way.

Teens who are often bored are 50% more likely than their peers to take up smoking, drinking and illegal drugs.  And it is one of the most frequent triggers for binge eating.  Boredom is associated with other negative outcomes, as well.

Let them be bored

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