August has almost approached but there is still plenty of time for summer holidays. What do your children in summer? Visits grandparents? Attend sports, coding, or art camps? Or maybe you let them stay at home and play on their own?
In fact, what is more important – free play and relaxation or continuous growth of knowledge in the summer break?
When I was a child, I remember even wishing to get back to school. I was waiting for the reunion with my friends!
These days we will barely find children simply wandering around from dawn till midnight by themselves.
A scheduled summer
As the global knowledge increases faster and faster, parents feel pressure to structure summer holidays with some learning activities. Parents don’t have as many holidays as children. So finding one way or another way to entertain children becomes inevitable. Summer camps come up as a natural solution.
As we think of ourselves as rational individuals, we choose a summer camp where children can improve their skills and learn something new.
Should we be afraid of boredom?
Child development specialists advise parents not to rush in with ready-made solutions. Many studies claim that children need time to themselves – to switch off from the outside world and to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, discover personal interests and gifts.
Children psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe says “Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves”.
Screen time to avoid boredom and… kill imagination
The constant stimulation of today’s reality makes it challenging for kids to stay still. Screens are everywhere and become an easy solution to boredom. A large scale study was carried out in Canada in 1980s as television was becoming widely spread. Researchers compared children in communities, which had television and those, which didn’t. The children in the no-TV town scored higher results in thinking skills and a measure of imaginativeness. This was the case until they got TV too. After that their skills dropped to the same level as other kids.
Indeed, it is believed that children are more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems while being bored. Researcher Karen Gasper of Pennsylvania State University claims that boredom operates similarly to feeling happy or excited. It encourages us to explore and find something more meaningful or interesting.
Sounds good but you are probably still worried about that whining sound when your kid doesn’t know what to do and asks for phone or tablet. Empirical evidence has confirmed that whining is one of the most annoying noises ever (as if you needed proof!)
Here are some ideas how to create the environment for bored kids:
Create a list of all activities
Sit down together and write all activities your child would love to do during the rest of summer. Free your imagination!
When boredom hits again, remind your child about the list. We tried this easy method and I can tell you, we didn’t even reach the end of the list!
Give a challenge
If a kid has run out of ideas, giving them some kind of challenge can encourage them to entertain themselves and free their imagination. These activities could range from asking them to create a picture story of all living creatures in the garden to picking up specific herbs in the vegetable garden.
Create designated area specifically for kids
When kids have their own play environment, they tend to create their own games when they get bored. Make this happen either inside or outdoors.
Don’t worry if your child spends some time without any activity. This is not waste of time. Indeed, this will be the time they will think about taking initiative and being more independent.
Let the rest 36 days of summer count!