Children Should Be Allowed to Get Bored

Dr. Teresa Belton:

When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased.

But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them.

I think back to the time when I was in class, looking out the window when boring lessons were conducted.

Physically present but mentally absent.

My mind was already drifting away to the oblivion. Out of the horizon, out of the restrictive boundaries we were tied up in. I imagined myself leading a team of troopers, guarding steadfastly against the hostile invasion.

Right now, the way I see it, parents are packing the schedule of their children to the brim. Bringing them to supplementary classes, martial art practices, music courses and the likes. Is it a case of parents wanting their child to fulfil their lost dreams or is it a case of overloading them with skills in preparation for the intense competition in their adulthood? Either way, it’s not a healthy trend.

The way we lead our life now doesn’t give us a reason to be bored. Not a single minute passed by without the overwhelming distractions screaming for our attention. But we are acclimate to such events, for there are news to catch up, photos to share and tweets to follow through. This is definitely no reason for us to be consumed in boredom with such a never ending list of activities before us.

The iPhone in my pocket, it’s with me virtually everywhere. It’s a habit and routine – I reach for the pocket and in my hands, I expect the pixels-emitting screen to be filled with magic. It keeps me occupied during the commute in the morning and evening. It keeps me entertained during lunch time when I dine alone.

At home, the laptop gets the most of my spare time – thinking of what to write, drafting, editing and eventually publishing it. Then there’s this time in between of aimlessly surfing around, with each click of the link bringing me deeper into the rabbit hole.

Having said that, it makes me think do I ever have a chance to be bored? It’s simply a question of choice. We can choose to cast away the laptop, keep the smartphone aside and just take in the moment.

What the moment is can be very subjective. The general notion is to be more aware of our surrounding. Allow some time for our overworked mind to be free of more information. Be bored, liberate our wandering mind from the shackles and let it explore as much as it want to be.

Because being bored gives us personal time and space. We need this to restore sanity, be grounded, and also dream up new ideas.