These two words can be every parent's nightmare. Keeping kids entertained can be a difficult task, especially when parents are busy themselves; and can oftentimes lead caregivers to assume a role of “contentment coordinator.” However, given the right skills, kids can solve this problem on their own!
Here are some tips to help them learn to self-soothe and entertain themselves:
1) Explain to them that boredom is not a bad thing!
Boredom simply means that a brain is lacking engagement...BUT lack of engagement can allow our brains time to daydream and come up with its best ideas! It allows the opportunity to find or create something to do that is satisfactory and enjoyable. It is also important because it gives the brain time to rest. A change in perspective may help them to embrace the boredom.
2) Help them create a list of activities to do when they are bored.
The best solution for boredom? Find something to do! Brainstorm with your child a list of the different things that they could choose to do when they are feeling bored. Write them on small pieces of paper or popsicle sticks and put them in a “boredom jar” to randomly choose; make a Wheel-of-Choices by writing their choices around a circle drawn on a piece of paper, or simply use the list. This will allow your child the opportunity to solve the problem independently by picking an activity from the list instead of coming to an adult to solve the problem for them!
3) Invite and encourage collaboration
Working from home? Hire them as your assistant for the day. Cleaning up? Hand them a broom. Maybe they’ll take you up on it, or maybe the idea of being put to work will motivate them to find something better to do!
Final thoughts: Try not to panic next time you hear those infamous two words. Remember that their young minds are just yearning for stimulation and direction. How to navigate, manage and use free time is a great skill that they will carry with them the rest of their lives!
If you believe your loved one could benefit from professional support, please contact Compass Social Skills and Counseling, LLC at 774-847-9340 or Info@SocialCompassCounseling.com.