As parents, we know that a bored child can be reckless one so many of us are guilty of filling their days with activities and things to do, even if it means putting ourselves under a lot of unnecessary stress. 


However, what will no doubt be music to a lot of ears, researcher Teresa Belton a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia says that being bored is actually good for your child.


Yes, GOOD for them.



Throughout her study of the influence of television on children’s storytelling back in the early nineties, Teresa noticed that the stories of kids aged ten to 12-years seemed to have a lack of imagination.


Much of which she put down to the effect of TV viewing.


Highlighting the importance of imagination, Teresa wrote in The Conversation that "not only does it enrich personal experience, it is also necessary for empathy – imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes – and is indispensable in creating change."


And while she does say that activities like arts and crafts, sports, music and other organised activities are good for a child’s physical, cognitive, cultural and social development, they also need time to switch off.


But why?



Well, according to the study, boredom allows a child to discover their own gifts and interests and, as Teresa says, "mental wellbeing and functioning" benefits from a wandering mind. 


We are also more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions if our mind is allowed to be free.


"It’s good for children to be helped to learn to enjoy just pottering – and not to grow up with the expectation that they should be constantly on the go or entertained,” she explained. 


So, what does she suggest parents do if a child cries: "I'm bored"? 


Urging mums and dads to put off rushing in with a solution, she suggests you have materials available that kids can use when they find themselves at a loss of what to do. 



Boxes, wood, wool, magnifying glasses, arts and crafts and even dress up outfits should be in the home and kids be encouraged to explore, create, develop and observe with them. 


But it's not all about physical things.


"To get the most benefit from times of potential boredom, indeed from life in general, children also need inner resources as well as material ones," Teresa writes.


"Qualities such as curiosity, perseverance, playfulness, interest and confidence allow them to explore, create and develop powers of inventiveness, observation and concentration."


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