What to do when Hayley is bored.


Some of you have made it clear you want to know more about my impending grandparent role.  Besides these regular newsletters I do blog and I will be talking about my experience and will be keen to read your comments. Best way to know that a blog has been posted is to follow me on twitter.

But now, the kids are under foot and they are bored. What’s a parent to do? Let’s take a look.

What to do when Hayley is bored

Boredom is a gift. And it belongs exclusively to the person who is experiencing it.

What does that mean for you when Hayley comes up to you and whines, “I’m bored.” It means that you wish her well and continue on with your day.

Boredom is not terminal.  Somehow we have come to believe that it is our job to ensure that our children are constantly entertained, so if they are bored, we need to help them. What do we think will happen if we don’t help them with this dilemma?

Boredom is a gift and one we should give the kids regularly, not just during school holidays. Children who are scheduled for most of their day miss the chance of figuring out what they want to do. They often miss out on creative thinking because they are following a series of pre-set plans from wake-up to bedtime.

Boredom can become free time and can be the best moments of a child’s day. I know you hate to see them unhappy or have to listen to their whining or watch them simply wasting time. But, for them, it’s all part of growing up and finding out who they are. Given the choice of everything, what do they really want to do with their time?

Let’s take a look at the idea of wasting time. Are they wasting time or are they learning how to consider their wishes, how to plan their time, how to manage their activities? Are they using the time to dream? Are they finding themselves considering different ideas and activities?

Just think, one day in the future they may take a break from their hectic lives, allow their minds to simply roam and come up with a cure for cancer.

Okay, it’s a bit over the top, but it could happen.

Another way you can tackle Hayley when she’s bored is to involve her in whatever you are doing. You can cook together, fold laundry or garden. It’s a great time to simple be with her and chat.

Be careful not to let all the structured time cut into the creative time. Let’s say your kids have taken blankets out to the deck and created a town. They have included all their stuffed toys, their little cars and truck and who knows what else. Let the project continue.

Dealing with boredom is actually simple. First you need to accept that your child’s boredom may be annoying but is not your problem. Then you need to believe that from boredom can come many of life’s lessons such as problem-solving, dreaming, planning on your own, trying out new activities. In other words, taking responsibility for your time.

Try it yourself. Maybe you are also over-scheduled. Take some time to just be or as they say, to stop and smell the roses.

Bringing Parenting Today to your event.

 Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.

I am based on the west coast but will be doing some traveling this Fall. I’ll be in Toronto September 8 to 10 and in Winnipeg from December 2 to 4. I am happy to extend these trips if you wish to book an event.  I will also be in Calgary and can coordinate that trip to meet your scheduling needs.

This entry was posted in Family Concerns, News, School-Age, Teens. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What to do when Hayley is bored.

  1. Lana says:

    Kudos to Kathy!
    Boredom is a precursor to creative thought and problem solving. In my profession ( vocational counselling) I see adults deal with challenges best when having practice as a child.
    Solving boredom for oneself builds competence in a myriad of ways!

    Kathy thank you for continuing to write supportively to us parents still in the trenches. Your column never fails to invite a smile.

  2. Allen says:

    My friend was just talking to this moring about her 5-year-old complaining about being bored. I will forward your article to her, so she will have ideas.


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