How to Manage Children's Boredom Without Resorting to Screens
Contrary to popular belief, kids not knowing what to do at certain times isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s beneficial! This motivates them to look for activities to entertain themselves, so their imagination and creativity are favored. It’s important to teach children to manage boredom and have fun without resorting to screens. This is key if we want to avoid problems in the future.
On many occasions, managing our children’s boredom isn’t easy, as they constantly complain and don’t know what to do. In those moments, they make us desperate, which often leads us to make the wrong decision. Many parents see their children’s boredom as a personal failure because they’re sad or discouraged. So, to avoid seeing them that way, they end up offering them their cell phone, tablet, video games, or television. In this article, we’ll see how to manage those moments of idleness without resorting to screens.
The benefits of boredom in children
Although boredom has always been considered a negative emotion, it’s a conception that we must get rid of. Boredom helps us find new ideas and things to do. Likewise, when we see our children bored and annoyed, we try to please them despite making the wrong decision.
There are many benefits that boredom has on children, besides favoring a greater development of the imagination, it has many others, such as the following:
- Boredom encourages imagination and creativity: When they don’t know what to do, children seek to entertain themselves with anything. They even invent new games or become interested in other things.
- It promotes rest: Boredom is also positive because it helps us rest for a while from the daily hustle and bustle of excess activities.
- It helps children to self-manage emotions: Children who don’t know how to manage boredom often get angry because they have time to do nothing. When parents manage that anger, we give our children the opportunity to learn to control their emotions and patience.
Learn how to manage children’s boredom without using screens
Who hasn’t resorted to screens at some point to entertain their children? There’s no need to feel bad about it, as this is something that happens to many parents. The good thing is that we can make changes to avoid these situations. The key is for parents to manage these moments of boredom correctly. Instead of giving them screens to calm them down or get them to stop complaining, we should pay more attention to them. Here are some of the things you can do.
Promote moments and spaces for free play
Having the time to do the things they like to do will help them develop their autonomy. You can provide them with different options or different activities so that they can find the ones that interest or entertain them the most.
Prepare a list of activities
Preparing a “mural of ideas” on a poster board can be a good option. On it, you can write down all the activities to do at home that the children like to do. When they’re bored, you can use it to review what they like to do, let them choose one, and have fun!
Keep paper and colors handy
Carrying colored pencils and some paper or a small coloring book in your purse is always a good idea. If you go out to eat or if you go somewhere where the kids don’t have any activities to do, instead of resorting to screens, they can use the tools to draw and paint or play a game.
Use applications to limit screen time
On many occasions, we tell children that they have 30 minutes to play. However, time passes and we’re not aware of it because we’re also busy with our own things. For this reason, using applications that allow you to program the screen time so that it turns off once that time is over is a good option in these situations.
Create a reading corner
You can make a reading space with bookshelves containing books of different themes. Having easy access to books can awaken children’s desire to read or to look at them if they are very young. In the case of very small children, it’s beneficial to read to them so that, in the future, they get used to doing it by themselves.
Set an example
If we don’t want our children to be with screens most of the time, then we ourselves can’t be glued to our smartphones all the time. We should avoid using screens whenever we’re with the family and set an example of what we ask of our little ones.
Choose toys wisely
Toys that have a lot of activity make children more passive. On the other hand, toys that are more passive and provide less stimuli (sounds, lights, etc), make children more active.
On how to avoid boredom without resorting to screens…
You’ve already seen that it’s not really that difficult to entertain children without resorting to screens, but it’s a matter of getting used to it and teaching them to manage boredom in a different way. It may be a little difficult at first because screens are the easiest tool to reach for when children get upset and end up making their parents desperate. But it’s all a matter of practice and discipline. Are you willing to give it a try?It might interest you...
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Antón, M. C. (2012). El aburrimiento. Perspectivas en Psicología, 9(3), 104-109. En internet: https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=5113946
Dupuy, G. E. (2018). El aburrimiento. Controversias en psicoanálisis de niños y adolescentes, 68-84. En internet: https://pesquisa.bvsalud.org/portal/resource/pt/psa-2441
Ovalle, J. (1993). Poemas Divertidos Para Niños Aburridos. Editorial Universitaria.