Boredom is not a crisis

Boredom in children is not a crisis

The ‘novelty bug’ can be an addictive thing. We get so used to offering our tamariki new experiences, new toys, new outings, that seeking ‘new’ becomes our default setting. And our children get used to it, and it becomes what they expect.

Sometimes it seems that childhood has become a bit like ticking off a supercharged bucket list – one thing down, and onto the next. The problem with new, new, new, is it fuels a sense of more, more, more and our tamariki learn to devour experiences, not savour them.

What we forget, and our children forget, if we take the above approach, is that new all the time is not necessary. 

New all the time is not necessary

Children actually love repetition, and find comfort in the familiar. They can visit the same place again and again, and still find joy there. They can orient themselves so quickly in a known place and then invest their energy in playing. This ‘spot’ is a secure base to explore from. The setting may be the same, but your child is a new being each time, with new growth and ideas. Boredom doesn’t need to feature.

As parents and whanau, we are often afraid of that B word, or at least of that phrase, “I’m bored”. But we needn’t be. Boredom isn’t a crisis, it’s an opportunity. Our tamariki can experience it and move through it – it is a temporary condition only! 

It is treatable with a touch of empathy (without rescuing), some time, and non-interference. Symptoms will disappear as inspiration sparks and creativity sets in. They’ll find new ways to enjoy familiar toys, and have ownership over that newness. It doesn’t need to be handed to them on a platter. 

What a gift that is to give our children – the knowledge that they can cope, be capable and creative. That they can make their own fun, build on and expand their ideas. And that we have faith in their ability to do that. Surely that’s more valuable than any admission fee to a new attraction, or the newest toy from the catalogue?

Childcare that begins and ends with loving care