This conversation took place in our house yesterday:
Son to me, wandering aimlessly around the house: I’m bored. Â Â What can I do?
Me, in the middle of doing housework:Â How about cleaning your room?
Son:Â Â I don’t want to. Â What else can I do?
Me:Â Sorry. Â That was my only suggestion.
It’s not even summer vacation yet, and already I’m starting to hear it. Â I’m bored. Â I don’t know what to do. Tell me something to do.Â
But I’m finding that these words don’t have the power they once had. Â This is because I’ve learned that I’m notÂ responsible for solvingÂ my sons’Â boredom for them.
Sure, some Â part of me still wants to dropÂ whatever I’m doing and come up with some very elaborate, crafty, Pinterst-worthy Mom-of-the-Year kind of activityÂ Â to engage him. Â But I’m resisting, because I have learned that when it comes to my kids, boredom is not a bad thing. Â It’s actually a good thing, because it’sÂ the fertile soil out of which intense creativity begins to grow.
When my kids are bored, fortsÂ appearÂ in the living room. Â Bunk beds turn into rocket ships. Â Halloween costumes come out of hiding. Â Miniature cities and highwaysÂ are built with construction paper, crayons and tape. Â Elaborate pictures are drawn, epic battles of multi-eyed space aliens and dashing superheroes. Â If I wait it out, the plaintive statements of boredom morph into the sounds of two little boys who are utterly engaged in their imaginative play … and that’s music to my ears.
That’s not to say that I never throw them a bone and give them something fun to do. Â But I’ve found that if I leave them to their own devicesÂ andÂ let them wander in the desert for a bitÂ — even with some grumbling along the way -Â they eventually manage to lead themselvesÂ to the land of milk and honey and a heckuva lot of fun.
(For more thoughts on boredom, especially as it relates to time in the car, check outÂ Why I Want My Kids to Be Bored.)