As parents, if we can manage to find a spare moment to ourselves, it's quite easy to fill - TV, social media, reading, etc
We never have to feel bored. Let's be real - with small kids, we never have a chance to feel bored.
So the second we see our children seemingly doing nothing, we get this temptation to jump in and entertain them.
We think that becausewe would feel bored in that situation...our child is too.
But the reality is that when it comes to young children, especially infants, EVERYTHING is brand new. Toes are exciting!
They don't always need stuff, like toys, books, or an adult, to constantly entertain them.
A child playing with their toes is learning about themselves
A child staring out the window is observing the world around them
A child making noises with their mouth is experimenting with language and exploring their senses
A child exploring a spoon is learning about the tools they use to eat
...etc, you get the idea. What looks like boredom to an adult, might actually be a simple moment of learning and exploration for a child.
Constantly playing, talking, or engaging with our little ones can rob them of these opportunities and lead to:
A break in their concentration
The expectation that we are the main source of their entertainment
How You'll Know If Your Infant or Child Is Truly Bored...
A child will let you know they’re bored through their behaviour.
When an infant has had enough of an activity, they'll seem restless. Often they begin squirming and crying. An older infant will do the same but they might also reach out their arms and make grasping motions or try to move by rolling and crawling.
Bored children will also seem restless - they're unfocused, distracted, unable to easily follow directions, and often demonstrate the need to move their body.
However, if a child is calm and focused, chances are they are not bored.
They can be left to play independently as long as they like. THIS is how they build their ability to concentrate.
Boredom is Great for Development!
Boredom can be a good thing to experience once in a while.
Promotes creativity and imagination
Encourages exploration and fosters independence
Provides an opportunity for children to explore their surroundings and discover new interests
Allows them to experiment, try different activities, and learn about their own preferences and abilities
It's good for their emotional development, because they learn to tolerate and manage feelings of discomfort or restlessness
It teaches them to adapt to situations that may not always be stimulating and find ways to entertain themselves
Experimenting With Boredom
One of the best places to experiment with boredom is outside.
Rather than bringing out all the toys every time you play outside, some days try bringing out just one or two simple things, like a basket of balls, a shovel and bucket, or magnifying glass.
You can give your child a few ideas about what you can do with that item and then see what they come up with.
It’s helpful to strike a balance. Some days they might be entertained for awhile, other days, they might ask for more items right away.
It isn't about forcing them to feel bored so don't feel pressure to keep all the toys away. Even just a few minutes of "thinking outside of the box" can be beneficial in helping your child to get creative.
Join Our Montessori Community
Sign up to get weekly activities, free printables, Montessori parenting guidance, and so much more.
Plus, get $10 off your first order of $100+.
Like this article? Get new articles, weekly activities, free printables, Montessori parenting guidance, and so much more.
One mom recently shared:
"Your newsletter is always SO great. It is one of the few I open and read weekly. You provide so much value. Thank you!"