Tips & Resources

What To Do When Kids Complain, "I'm Bored":

Parents get upset when a child whines that he is bored. That statement - "I'm bored" gets a rise out of us, because we may have the mistaken belief that it is actually our job to make our children "un-bored". It isn't your responsibility to act your child's personal entertainer. Rather than suggesting-"why don't you read a book, play outside, ride your bike, call a friend, clean up your desk (Heaven forbid!)?"-to which almost every child I know will reply "That's more boring", just acknowledge the remark with a briefer "Oh" or "Oh, dear". Briefer is better, but if you can't stop there, you could say, "Well, I'm sure you'll find a way to get 'un-bored'!"

It's not helpful to criticize your child by responding in an annoyed tone: "How can you be bored when you've got so many toys, games, books?". By reacting calmly, not irritably, you're showing your child you have faith in her ability to find a way to solve her problem on her own.

In our over-stressed, fast-moving society, being bored may even have its advantages. I worry about the many kids who are so over-programmed that they're never given the opportunity to simply do nothing, to daydream or to use their imagination. Be aware, however, that it is much harder for children to entertain themselves today than in previous generations. The obvious culprit is over exposure to the media. Kids who spend too much time in front of TV will have more difficulty playing by themselves or thinking creatively. They equate entertainment with sitting in front of a screen. Think of it this way. Every time you hit the "off" button on the TV, you're giving your child a gift.

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