“I’m Bored!”

When your kids announce that they are bored, how do you respond? Do you rush to fix this horrible state of affairs? Well boredom is not a disease that needs cured. All children need free time, even boring time, to discover who they are, what they are good at and what they enjoy. Provide them with art materials, books, old-fashioned wooden blocks, cardboard boxes and a costume box . Unplug your kids from all electronics everyday and give them the gift of time, time even to lay on the grass and simply look at the clouds.

Our daughter, Grace became the philosopher/ artist she is today partly because I didn’t have time to try to normalize her or the money to put her in a constant cycle of sports or other after school activities.Grace was a unique child with amazing concentration. While four-year old little boys were struggling to print or draw, my second youngest daughter would cover sheets of paper with tiny intricate drawings at 18-months old. Once she drew at least fifty tiny “eyes” while she stood on a chair and leaned over a piece of paper, for half an hour. We bought her a chalkboard for Christmas, just before she turned two. Grace was so oblivious to everything but her art that she kept drawing her little designs off the chalkboard in a line on the wall and kept going around the corner. We laughed with delight at that example of her quiet passion.

How did this toddler fall asleep?

Why by cutting tiny triangles out of magazines until she passed out, child proof plastic scissors still in her hand. I’d gently remove the scissors and cover her with a baby quilt. Once a week I’d sweep up a whole overflowing dustpan of tiny triangles! When I called Grace to help around the house when she was a little older, she’d be so absorbed in a craft or art work that she would not even hear me.

When Grace was a newborn, her hair was thick, black and stood straight up on end. Her eyes were huge and very dark brown. Actually, Grace was comical looking because her eyes literally popped out in a constant look of surprise. Those eyes seemed to study everyone and everything. Her hair became brown with gorgeous blond highlights that looked like she had streaked her hair but she still has those big, brown eyes that study everything. One day at a store, she caught a glimpse of a girl and thought,

“Wow, does she ever have huge eyes!”

A second later, Gracie realized that she was looking at her own reflection.

My daughter really marched to her own tune as a child. I am grateful that our lack of extra cash gave her the freedom and opportunity to discover and develop her talents on her own. We did not force her to join team sports or go to brownies; we let her enjoy what she loved to do, read and draw. As a result , she is a philosophy/religious studies major and a gifted artist who still wears a tiny smile of contentment as she draws and paints.

20 thoughts on ““I’m Bored!”

  1. Wonderful story. If my kids tell me they are bored, I tell them then they are not using their brains, the most amazing toys ever created. They can imagine, create, plan, think, compare, compute, evaluate, all without even pressing a single button. They don’t tell me they are bored very often. All three tell stories, even my 4 year old.


  2. As a teacher, I get so nervous when I see those kids whose parents schedule every second of their time with activity, and then they fall asleep doing homework instead of dreaming. Great post!


  3. When I hear “I’m bored” I respond with “Oh that’s too bad honey. I guess I can clear up the basement then, there are many little boys and girls who would love to have some of those toys and books and markers.” Boredom is forgotten rather quickly – and it normally doesn’t even involve any of this age appropriate things. He’ll grab a black pen and pretend it’s a magic wand, he’ll put on my dishwashing gloves and pretend he’s building something…once prodded in the right direction a child’s creativity is boundless.

    Also, kudos to you. Nowadays it takes more guts to just let a child be – expectation is always to have your child involved in some kind of activity.


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