Leverage Boredom This Summer!

Posted on by Helena Eddings

“I’m bored!” Spoken in whiny unison by children all across the land, to their parents’ dismay.

But, what exactly is “boredom”?

Merriam-Webster defines it this way:

bore·dom noun \ˈbȯr-dəm\
:  the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest

This state is an age-old challenge that adults tend to forget is a big deal to children.  As “grown-ups” we generally have constant demands upon our time that staves off the lack of interest, but most kids do not have the same level of demand – especially in the summer when school is out and extra-curricular activity gives way to free time.

And so, kids get bored.

We live in a culture that tells us we should be constantly achieving and earning, and when we are not, we should be entertained and distracted.  There is little effort given to create time free from demand – time to cultivate mindfulness, which in turn leads to opportunities to embrace and encourage imagination and creativity.

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Could it be that our kids are learning this wearying and restless cycle of achievement and gratification and missing out on the value of time free from demands?

So, what if we thought about boredom differently?

What if we taught children to see boredom as the gateway into a world of untapped potential and interest?

What if boredom alerted our kids to the fact that they are free from demands, free to explore their world?  How can we empower our kids to cultivate mindfulness, imagination and creativity?

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There is no one way to teach our kids the path to leveraging time to its fullest potential, but it is a guarantee that our little ones will not find the path by accident.  It takes an intentional effort on our part to participate with them in developing the habits of mindfulness.

Start by setting aside meaningful periods of time where you and your kids are free from demands.  Stop and look at what is going on around you, asking questions about what you see and what you think is going on.  Stop and ask your kids (and yourself) about how what you are seeing makes you feel and why.  Then, see where the answers take them as they play.

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Cultivating mindfulness can happen anywhere and any time – story time, dinner time, drive time, bath time, you name the time.  At any age – infant, toddler, preschool, elementary, pre-teen or teen – we can help motivate our kids to see the world through bright, inquisitive eyes.

Engaging boredom begins only with your leading the way.  The goal is not only to educate our kids on the value of time but also to equip them with the tools to leverage free time to its fullest potential.

Adapted

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West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.