As school ended last week many parents are wondering: what are we going to do with our kids this summer? After all camps are closed, travel is limited, sporting events don’t allow fans, even large playdates are frowned upon. Help!
Here’s a creative solution: Boredom. Allow your kids to be bored for a change! Yes, it turns out the boredom is a good thing for the human brain and an important emotion for your kids to experience. Recent studies have found that boredom can spark creativity, innovation, and problem solving. It can even reduce stress and anxiety, promote empathy, and be the stimulus for self-directed learning.
“At its core, boredom is “a search for neural stimulation that isn’t satisfied”… If we can’t find that, our mind will create it. As demonstrated by numerous studies boredom can enable creativity and problem-solving by allowing the mind to wander and daydream. There’s no other way of getting that stimulation, so you have to go into your head,” says Dr. Sandi Mann in a recent Time article.
Think about it: If Einstein couldn’t daydream there would be no Theory of Relativity. If Isaac Newton couldn’t sit on his front porch and be bored enough to watch apples falling from trees, we may not have had his theory of gravitation… You get the point! The absence of external stimulation drove the need for internal stimulation.
Which leads us to another reason why learning to deal with boredom is important: The #1 skill employers are looking for in new hires these days is creativity. And since boredom helps stimulate creativity and imagination, you’ll be doing your kids a favour by giving them the space to be bored. After all, “the last thing an employer wants is an employee who sees a tough situation or new task and says, “Wow, I don’t know what to do here.” Instead, they want to know that you can think creatively an come up with a solution.”
So don’t fret if camps are closed this summer. By letting your child deal with boredom and not pacifying them with a smartphone or video games, you’ll be helping them develop mental strengths that will serve them well into the future. In fact, you may be making them more employable.
TopResume.com – ‘6 Soft Skills Employers are looking for in 2020” by Tyler Omoth,
Time.com – Being Bored Can Be Good For You – By Jamie Ducharme,
Wired – How Being Bored Out of Your Mind Makes your More Creative, Clive Thompson