A 2018 study commissioned by Bic into the activities of modern day children uncovered some interesting findings that suggest children claim they are bored very easily and as much as up to 122 times a month, although I’m sure mine could do that in a week, if not a day sometimes!
But in all seriousness it does make us wonder why our children are claiming to be bored so easily.
Is it because they have lost the ability to self entertain?
Is it because as adults we no longer feel our society is as safe as we once believed and therefore don’t allow them the freedom to explore without us as much as children once did?
Or is it because they have simply figured out that if they complain of being bored enough times then there’s a good chance that an adult will eventually allow them to watch TV or play on a games console or screen of some sort?
The last possibility really isn’t that hard to believe, especially as 31% of parents questioned in this study admitted to giving a bored child a digital device, and in my opinion many more do, or have at some point, including myself.
In fact it wasn’t that long ago that my husband and I had a serious conversation about the screen time our children were having and although they were having far more than the 3 hours free from screens that those in the study were having we still decided to put in stricter rules. For example in our house there are no computers before school and TV can only go on once they are dressed and ready to leave and after school computers can only be used once they have done some basic chores around the house and completed their homework and reading if required. In addition to this, once they have been allowed access to their consoles they are still limited on the length of time in which they can use them and although we were met with disgruntled kids to start with these sanctions are working well and we are seeing our children actively seeking out other toys and activities to amuse themselves with which is a true delight, even if it is just to get out of doing the jobs.
However, we are by no means the best at this parenting lark and certainly don’t claim to be, knowing full well we use the old technology babysitters when we need to such as when I have work to finish from home or on road trips when 4 hours of eye spy seems like painful torture and I don’t think we are in the minority with this at all, for me it’s all about the balance.
The study also identified that 69% of parents dread the words “I’m bored” and I’ll admit I’ve been there too but I do sometimes think this is just a habit and a lazy response from kids, or at least from mine anyway. When asked how they relieve this boredom 68% said they watched TV which really is a shame, especially when you compare it to the 42% of adults that said they suggest playing board games instead.
I guess the real question is “Is all this technology having an impact on our children’s imaginations and creativity?”
Sure they like creative and imaginative things but how much of it do they themselves come up with?
How often do they get to replicate the you tube videos of science experiments and art projects themselves?
How often do we get our children to write us a story just for fun and not for homework?
Don’t get me wrong I think technology is brilliant and being tech savvy is a skill our children will need in the work place going forward so I will never ban its use altogether or stop them learning new skills but the mind numbing you tube videos of other children making slime could easily be replaced with them actually making the slime themselves, don’t you think?
So could boredom boost creativity?
Personally, I think it can and we have certainly seen a marked improvement on our own children’s ability to be more creative since we reduced their screen time but I still don’t think I encourage it enough, usually because the thought of the mess puts me off but I will most definitely be reaching for our art supplies this weekend to see just how creative we can get when we put the screens away.
In case you need some help here are some ways to stimulate your kids that does not involve technology.