“Is it ok for kids to be bored on the school holidays?” I heard this question being thrown around the other day, and it made me think. Well, is it ok? I think the answer is “Yes!” Yes, because it forces kids to use their imagination to entertain themselves. Is that such a bad thing?
I, like so many other parents, want to make sure that my kids have a great time on their school holidays. We don’t go away or anything like that, most of the time, but I organise play dates (not for my 13 year old, they are now called “get togethers”!), we go to the movies, parties, that place where you bounce on trampolines that is so awesome, it makes me want to jump around like an out of control 10 year old high on sugar, we go to the city, that dangerous new chocolate cafe that just opened up, you know, all that stuff. I try to make sure they are entertained. But the other day, we had nothing on, no particular place to go, and it was the best day ever!
The morning saw me doing some boring housey stuff, which led them to go outside. Yes, it’s winter, yes there have been sniffles, but a nice warm coat and a big imagination was all they needed. Before I knew it, there they were on the trampoline, laughing, jumping, carrying on and making up games that they both took turns in creating and they both enjoyed. Hang on, even though they weren’t “doing” anything, they were far from bored. They were having fun, unscheduled, uncomplicated, untechnologically (if there is such a word) enhanced fun! And it was awesome. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are often outside, for my son it’s a daily ritual, it’s part of being a kid. They need to use their energy productively and be a part of nature, but today was different, because today it hit me. The best times are often the simple times. The times that don’t cost you anything. These times build relationships, create bonds and generate lasting memories. There is no rushing, no running against the clock, these times are just simple and relaxed. They allow kids the space to wind down and just be, be in the moment and enjoy one of the basic joys in life, each other’s company. When we bamboozle our kids with too much, too many scheduled activities, too many electronics, etc, everything becomes a blur. One activity blends into another and we run the risk of creating overstimulated kids who don’t know how to wind down and switch off, who always need to be entertained and don’t know how to cope when faced with having to figure it out for themselves. Letting them have the time to be “bored” actually gives them the chance to create fun in their own way, on their own terms and stimulates their imagination, which is only limited by their own creativity. They learn how to look within themselves and their own minds to find solutions to problems, rather than look for someone else to come along and fix everything for them.
Our afternoon ended at the local oval, with 2 bikes, a football and the three of us, (poor hubby was at work!) We laughed, we ran, we played, we raced, some on a bike some on foot, we kicked the football through the goal posts, or not, and hey, I almost even kicked the football through the basketball hoop, from quite a distance! (For the record I have got it in twice in the past, my husband and son call it a fluke, I call it skill!) But you know what, it was one of the best days ever! We had all we needed, we had each other which meant we had it all, and we loved it!