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Schools Out, Boredom Ahead: What to Do?

June 15, 2013
Plain English Version

During the summer, parents often hear their kids say, “I’m bored.” Experts now say that boredom can be a sign of tension and negative feelings. The kids are really struggling to find something to focus their attention on or to start doing things that make them feel good.

Parents should not feel they are doing a poor job of parenting. And they should not think there is something wrong with their kids. Instead, an expert says, they should “take a deep breath, step back and help children look for solutions for themselves.”

Going outside and playing with other children… the usual cure for boredom… is not always possible. Rural and suburban kids can’t always find nearby other kids with whom to play. City kids may live in places where it is unsafe to play on the street, or to walk to a safe playground.

Claiming boredom may be a way a child shows that he or she is not sure what to do with free time. Or a child may not want to start an unfamiliar activity.

Experts say video games and action movies are only short-term fixes. They say parents should do “active listening.” Listen to your child. Allow the child to think about a solution. Cuddle or touch younger children. Do not feel you have to fix the problem. Play with very shy children, and then leave them to continue the activity.

Read books that recommend activities. Some say ask your children to help with household chores, but not as punishment. And find ways to get the kids to exercise.

Some people believe that, in the “old days,” kids did not depend on their parents for amusement. If a kid said to his mother, “I’m bored,” the mother might say, “Why are you telling me?”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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