Navigating the tricky waters with four kids, 7 and under, I often hear the oldest two express after school, on a day off, or on the weekend: "Mom, I'm so bored!" So I begin to think about a really good response for my kids. In our culture today, it's like it's a sin to be bored. With technology at our fingertips and where everyone and every thing is producing and occupied by something, how is it okay to simply not do anything? To simply be?
I eventually come up with a suitable response: "Good, that's a good thing. It is good to be bored!" I say with confidence – pronouncing the "good" – not wanting to give into the temptation to let them play a game on my phone.
My son looks at me strange but by the second week of him saying the bored statement, he knows how I will respond and he finds something to do. He gets out his journal and writes at the top of the lined paper, "Things I Saw When I was Young." The title cracks me up because he's only seven. He writes a precious list of memories in our old home and seeing his siblings after their births. My five-year-old starts to play nurse with her sister, bandaging wounds and taking temperatures. And the little ones joined in on the play.
Obviously, there are times when you need a break and letting your kids have screen time helps you and them. During meal prep, my house would be in flames if it wasn't for Netflix. But I know I'm giving my kids a greater gift when I just let them "be." Here are three reasons why.
1. Your kids will have a time in the day when they aren't being stimulated by something.
A full school day alone involves stimulation with noise, lunch, P.E., music, chatter, school work, demands of tests, expectations, and more. When your kids have a time of day where nothing is going on, it gives them space to breathe. They learn about themselves and the world around them without any prodding. They see life for what it is outside of constant stimulation and the responsibilities required of them.