We read. We read a lot. Taking on information is a pleasurable, worthwhile experience but sometimes it is merely to pass the monotony of a humdrum day. We read the highlight reel of other people's lives on our Facebook news feed, comparing our everyday life to their carefully chosen choices of what to display. 'Likes' escalate while real-life contact diminishes. We are distracted because being bored is no longer an option; 24/7 entertainment surrounds us and we shamelessly embrace it.
Stop for one second. Take a look at your child. What is (s)he doing?
My house is one tea party after the next. School registration, sleep time, meal time and all this is independent of my wife and I. It's always someone's birthday (usually Baby Sarah's) where cakes are produced at the ready made from homemade playdough, glitter and a few wonky candles. We have to gather around to sing, to celebrate. Gacki is my favourite; my little girl is always off to London to visit Gacki (Gacki? Who on earth is Gacki?) and there is Bunny Bun-Bun, Rebecca Rabbit, Baby Doll and not to forget Molas and Lacki who all used to live on Paradise Island but no longer do. You see, they all had to sleep on the earth, but got fed up of slugs crawling on them so they have recently moved to England. How is all of this possible? Because my little girl has the luxury of being bored.
Boredom allows children to explore their imaginations without a screen dictating what characters should look and sound like. Reading old stories such as Enid Blyton and the like allowed children of yesteryear to dream up these magical worlds. Many children growing up in contemporary society don't have such 'luxuries'. Tablets, phones and Television sets all have the potential to rob our little ones from their own wonderful imaginary worlds. It's an interesting fact that Steve Jobs himself limited the time his children spent on iPads. Is allowing your child some down time watching TV a bad thing? Well, of course not, but as far as cognitive development goes, merely being a passive receptor in front of a screen is not going to aid in connecting vital neurons and will stunt neuroplasticity.
Let your child get bored. What's the worst that can happen? They will probably go into default mode of making up worlds, characters and stories born from their very own imaginations.
Step into a child's mind; watch them play, watch how they take boredom to the next level.
Want to stimulate your child? How about offering them some boredom?