And how the lack of boredom hurts the well-being of your kid
Summer used to be a time where kids played outside with their neighbours. As a kid, I had to figure out how to occupy my time. As a group or when I played by myself, I had to decide, and often imagine, which games to play. That enabled me to develop important social skills. More importantly, I learned a skill that more and more kids today lack: how to feel and act when I’m bored.
Many papers have been written (and continue to be written) on Why parents should let their child be bored. They share a common ground.
When we’re supplying all the goods for our kids’ attention, we’re actually encouraging our children’s imaginations and creative capacities to atrophy and die.
Back in 2013, Dr Teresa Belton said the same thing to the BBC. Dr Belton said “cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.”
In this post, Dr Vanessa Lapointe described how she’s not surprised that her husband became a mechanical engineer. Raised in a rural community, he passed his days building and tinkering and inventing. She concluded by saying:
Children need to sit in the nothingness of boredom in order to arrive at an understanding of who they are.
Dr Vanessa Lapointe
Finally, there is this quote from a Quartz article. “Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education.
Work obligations make it difficult for most parents to avoid day camps in the summer. Things has changed. Just be sure to allow enough unstructured time at night and on weekends for your kid to discover who they are and to fuel their creativity.
By the way, if a neighbour or a mom at school tells you that she doesn’t send her child to this camp summer, take the hint. She politely asks you “Could your child play sometimes on weekdays with mine?”. It would mean the world to her that you say yes and send her your contact information right away.