Wise parents will allow their children to be bored from time to time and will strengthen their family, community, and nation by doing so. According to Addison Whitmer, “Studies have shown that boredom may not be the worst things for your child.” Whitmer quotes several experts to prove her statement.
The Melbourne Child Psychology Service
said that dealing with boredom prompts children to find ways to entertain
themselves, and come up with clever and entertaining activities to pass the
time. This fosters both a creative imagination and strong problem-solving
skills, so it is better for a parent to provide their child with resources when
they come up with an activity, rather than outright give the child an idea.
Dr. Stephanie Lee, director of the ADHD
and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute, also defended
boredom. “Life requires us to manage our frustrations and regulate our emotions
when things aren’t going our way, and boredom is a great way to teach that
One study from the Academy of Management
explored the effect boredom had on a person’s creativity, by giving two groups
a prompt on excuses for being tardy. The difference here? One group had spent
their time sorting beans by color before being given the prompt, until the
participants were thoroughly bored. The second group had participated in a much
more interesting activity before the prompt meeting.
The two groups’ performances were
significantly different, as the group who had been subject to the boring task
of sorting beans presented more creative answers than the second group, both in
quality and quantity.
Experts have said for years that constant
mental stimulation inhibits our minds from being able to idle, making it more
difficult to brainstorm and reflect. Professor Jonny Smallwood at the
University of York spoke to the “Note to Self” podcast. “There’s a close link
between originality, novelty and creativity … and these sort[s] of spontaneous
thoughts that we generate when our minds are idle,” Smallwood said.
Researcher Sandi Mann at the University of
Central Lancashire agreed, saying, “You come up with really great stuff when
you don’t have that easy, lazy, junk food diet of the phone to scroll all the
The above information applies to
teenagers as well as children. A Piper Sandler study found that 87% of teens
have an iPhone. They spend an average of nine hours on screens each day
(American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), and they need about 9 to
9.5 hours of sleep each night (John Hopkins Medicine).
Quartz reports that teens do not discover
new interests when they are too much each day. According to Quartz, child
psychologist Lyn Fry children who do not experience boredom do not prepare for
adulthood when they fill their free time with enjoyable activities. “If parents
spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s
never going to learn to do this for themselves.”
When parents allow their children to
experience boredom and learn to entertain themselves, they are helping them to learn
skills needed for happy leisure hours as an adult. In doing so, parents can
strengthen their family, community, and nation.