Let Them Be BORED

let them be boredI’m convinced that most families, at least in the Austin suburbs, struggle with being TOO busy rather than not busy enough.

Do your kids really need another activity? Do they really need a new toy or game system to entertain them? We may be the most entertained and distracted generation in the history of earth. Is it good for us?

Here is a parenting tip: let them be bored.

let them be boredWhen my kids are bored, the creativity starts to flow. When I don’t give them anything to do, something magical happens. They start playing their musical instruments, writing stories, making comic books, building forts, reading books, and finding other ways to have fun together. We provide them with the tools to do so, and then they run with it. After an hour or two, they often have a tower built, script for a play written, or some other creative output. We also find that when they slow down and feel bored, they end up working together more to have fun.

Oh and by the way, screens usually do not foster creativity.

I think a degree of boredom and slowness also helps kids appreciate the biblical principle of Sabbath. I’m not a guy who thinks that as New Covenant Christians, we must follow a literal, 24-hour Sabbath every week. Nevertheless, we see the Sabbath rhythm established in the creation narrative, so we must recognize our inherent need for regular rest. When we slow down, we reflect, we dream, and we even worship. Slow down, with your kids, and be bored in nature. Go fishing. Plant some flowers. Catch bugs. Watch a sunset. Help your kids find joy in the simple beauty all over God’s creation.

Parents, don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to provide the most spectacular toys and activities for your kids. Did you have all that when you were a kid?

Probably not, and you probably still had a lot of fun. When I was a kid, you could give me some Hot Wheels cars and a piece of wood for a ramp, and I could happily pass hours with complex, creative car tournaments. The spectacular, flashy entertainment may actually stifle your kids, or worse, lead them to a materialistic mindset where they always need the newest, coolest thing.

Let them experience some boredom, with some guidance, and you may see some brilliance and beauty come out of them!