Well, that jubilant feeling lasts, for parents, about 6.3 days. Then those same kids that were dancing and burning old papers and work books (okay, maybe a bit extreme but you get where I’m going) will say the dreaded, “I’m bored!”
First, I recognize all kids are different. All ages are different. Sometimes, when kids say they’re bored, they simply want you to solve their problem of how to entertain themselves.
I know what most of you are thinking, “When I was a kid, If I said I was bored my mom and dad would tell me to start sweeping the kitchen or start diggin’ a hole!” I have said a version of that on more than one occasion.
However; that may not be the best response. It’s the easy response because kids can be annoying when we are busy, and that will shut them up for a bit. Maybe we should slow our roll and find out what they may be trying to say, and figure out best how to help them solve “boring” long term.
I don’t know diddly doo about parenting, but I have consulted the internet and my kid’s therapist. The general consensus seems to be to acknowledge the child’s feeling of being bored but don’t try and solve the problem. In most cases it’s not your problem to solve. However, helping your kid figure out what to do might prevent the constant badgering from the child.
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My daughter has ADD and is on the spectrum and “bored” can be completely different for an atypical kid. Many kids (neuro typical or not) do not know how to express feelings. I have (sort of) figured out, in my child’s case, “I’m bored” can mean she is anxious or out of sorts. When we are away from home, she will say she is bored more often than when she is home. We have finally connected that she is really saying she is a bit stressed. She needs routine and schedules. It helps to solve the problem when you figure out what the real problem is.
You may have heard of the “anger iceberg”. The idea is, that anger is what’s above the water but underneath the water is where the real issues lie. Underneath the “anger iceberg lies things like sadness, shame, hunger, tiredness, and stress.
I have come to believe that many times (not all) there is a “bored iceberg”. Under the I’m bored” (above the water), lies phrases like, “I’m worried”,” I don’t know what I’m feeling”,“ I’m not comfortable where I am”, “ I’m sad my friends aren’t here”, “ I want to connect with you”. An article from Dandelion Family Counseling is where I found some of those phrases. (I will link the article at the end of my blog).
It doesn’t work all the time, but allowing my daughter to make her daily schedule gives her some power as well as fulfill her need for a schedule. Of course, when she schedules, “eat candy’ every 10 minutes we need to step in. Timers are a huuuge key. She needs that 20 minute timer to know how long she has read or was active or colored or of course watched electronics.
Feel free to dismiss this as psycho babble and keep doing what your parents did and their parents before them and just tell your kid to shut their pie hole and start doing a chore. Frankly there are some times that’s needed. Who I am to judge.
It just doesn’t seem that that tactic worked real well, since each generation is still complaining about being bored.
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